While everyone is waiting with baited breath to see who gets Michael Bourn, or what closer the Cincinnati Reds can sign, I would like to ask a very pointed question.
Did the Reds unload the right catcher when they traded the farm for Mat Latos? When the trade took place last year between seasons, I thought the Reds were crazy for giving up so much young talent.
While revisiting that trade a year later I wonder if perhaps the Reds should have traded Devin Mesoraco and held on to Yasmani Grandal.
Both were No. 1 draft picks, and most people figured that Mesoraco was more polished and ready for the big leagues. It didn't quite pan out that way.
Mesoraco would up being sent to Louisville midway through the season while Grandal made his presence felt as soon as he showed up in San Diego.
The Reds only needed half-a-catcher as they already had Ryan Hanigan to do the lion's share of the catching. It seemed also that the Padres only needed a backup to Nick Hundley (not to be confused with the two-generation catcher family, Randy and Todd).
Grandal got an opportunity to play because of the faltering Hundley, who was hitting only .169 at the end of May. Grandal showed his metal by hitting four home runs in his first 20 plate appearances; two in his first five.
Mesoraco was hitting .300 at the end of April, but from that point everything took a dive south. He ended up batting only .212 with five homers and 14 runs knocked in. Very disappointing to say the least.
Grandal ended the year batting .297 with eight HR and 37 RBI.
In comparison to the rest of the league, Grandal had a 142 OPS+ to a ridiculous 88 for Mesoraco.
After one year I would be inclined to say that the Reds made a boo-boo. To make matters worse, former All-Star Dioner Navarro was called up to replace Mesoraco and appeared in 28 games, batting .290 with a pair of homers.
Navarro became a free agent and has since been signed by the Chicago Cubs.
After that little band of musical chairs, the Reds still have Mesoraco, but what good will he be? He is only 24 (as is Grandal), and I am fairly certain he will have a big league career at some point.
But the crux of this article is still, "did the Reds unload the right catcher?" The answer is simple: no they did not.
You may counter that 200-250 plate appearances is too small of a sampling to cast aspersions on the Reds management.
That may be true, but it is the offseason and we must have something to chew on while we sit around the old pickle barrel.
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