Devin Mesoraco is being beat down. The position he’s playing has given him a roundhouse kick straight to the hip, multiple blows to the head, and more wear and tear on his body than he can recover from. The amount of abuse that he’s taken behind the plate hasn’t given him a punchers chance at the plate. Although it’s early, Mesoraco is batting a lackluster .147 and only has a total of 5 hits on the year. He looks sapped at the plate and has already had to miss multiple games this year due to an issue with his quad.
We all know what Mesoraco is capable of when healthy. He’s one of the best hitting catchers in the game. In 2014, the last year he was healthy, Mesoraco was an All Star. He batted .273, slugged .534, and had an OPS of .893. His OPS was tops in all of baseball for a catcher. Not to mention Mesoraco brings an attitude to this team that can be a breath of fresh air at times. Simply put: he cares. He gets fired up when he strikes out, hustles his ass off, and shows competitiveness that we fans crave.
So, how do the Reds cut back on the wear and tear of Mesoraco’s body, keep him in the lineup every day, and restore him to his 2014 glory?
Move him to the outfield. To be quite frank, given the injury history with his hip, this should have been done at the beginning of this year. It was perfect timing. The Reds could have given Mesoraco reps in left field, eventually traded Bruce, and then configured the outfield appropriately once Winker was MLB ready. Tucker Barnhart showed last year he is capable of carrying the load behind the plate for the time being, especially defensively. Even better, it would have been done during a rebuilding year. Mesoraco is more than athletic enough to handle the switch; it’s just a matter of getting him seasoned and 100% healthy.
Look, I know this has been a talked about topic for the last couple of years. One of the main arguments is that the Reds would rather have Mesoraco’s bat in a more premium position such as catcher than in the outfield, where good hitters are a dime a dozen. If that’s truly the case, then where are they? The Reds haven’t had a decent hitting left fielder since I can remember. Also, if Mesoraco can’t stay healthy while playing catcher, then what’s the point?
Mesoraco is 27 years old. That’s not young in baseball years, but it’s not old either. There is still time to move him to the outfield, but it needs to happen soon. Even if it doesn’t work out and Mesoraco never returns to form, the Reds need to do their diligence and have a plan for trying to protect one of their assets.
It’s sad seeing such a talented player struggle with so many injuries. It’s a shame that Devin Mesoraco is batting a measly .147, but the real shame is putting him in a position where he’s wasting away the prime of his career.
Jeff is Cincinnati born, Ohio University educated. Reds baseball has been a central theme of his family ever since his mom and dad helped him skip school to attend Opening Day. Jeff has been accused of having a “man crush” on Joey Votto and longs for the day that he gets to witness the Reds finally win a playoff series. You can follow him on Twitter @Gaaangs