“Obviously Devin in the lineup gives us the best chance to win, without question,” Barnhart said just before this season ended. “Whether that means I catch 20 games or end up catching 120 games next year, first and foremost I want Devin back and healthy and in our lineup.”
“Winning in the Major Leagues trumps anything there is. I want to be a part of a winning culture and a winning team,” Barnhart said. “Getting back one of our key pieces in Devin is what we need. I think whatever role I’m given when that happens, I’ll be more than happy to take it and run with it and help the team win as much as possible.”
Read the whole thing.
There are so many moving parts that it’s not worth getting too deep into the weeds of the 2017 catching situation just yet. Devin Mesoraco won’t be able to do any catching until January, and while the Reds’ crack medical staff says there’s no reason to think Mesoraco won’t be physically able to catch, I’m not going to bet the ranch on it.
I want to be cautiously optimistic about Mesoraco returning to catch 100-120 games for the Reds in 2017. After all, we’re talking about an All-Star catcher, right? But you’d be foolish to assume that he’ll ever again be a regular catcher in the big leagues.
Tucker Barnhart proved this year that he’s a legitimate major league catcher. He’s going to make a lot of money as a catcher for the next dozen or more years. He’s great defensively, and his bat surprised a lot of people this season. But I’m just not sure he’s a credible starter for a contending team. (But if Barnhart can stay healthy, he’ll always have a job in the league as a backup catcher.)
Can the Reds have an above-average catching duo if both catch 80 games? What do the Reds do if Mesoraco can’t catch at all?
Add those questions to the list of unknowns facing the 2017 Reds.