The Cincinnati Reds made a number of offseason moves this season to improve upon their 2012 NL Central Championship winning roster.
However, the team also made some more minor moves that flew under the radar. Although these moves may not have been analyzed to the extent of the Broxton deal, or the Choo trade, they can carry immense importance.
The most underrated move the Reds made this offseason was the signing of Miguel Olivo.
Olivo isn't the sexiest of signings, but he does bring with him a .241/.275/.418 slash line, and 162 game averages of 21 HR, 72 RBI and 64 runs scored (per baseball-reference.com).
Additionally, Olivo throws out 34 percent of base runners, substantially higher than the league average of 28 percent.
Olivo, a 34-year-old catcher, was given a minor-league deal which included an invite to spring training.
Olivo's deal could make spring training all that more interesting as it offers two methods of roster composition that the Reds could pursue.
The obvious route the Reds could go is to make Olivo their third catcher when the team breaks camp.
Olivo would then catch in Triple-A, similarly to Dioner Navarro. In the event that an injury, or suspension (We're looking at you, Devin Mesoraco) occurs, Olivo could be called upon to fill out the roster and provide Hanigan with days off as needed.
The team could, however, look to go in a different direction, in which Olivo would become the Reds' backup catcher.
Olivo, as previously noted, offers solid defense and, aside from his .275 OBP, a dependable bat off the bench. Writing Olivo into the lineup once in a while wouldn't detract from the team's offensive potential, either.
This move would send Devin Mesoraco back to Triple-A Louisville where he could serve as the team's full-time catcher.
The Reds front office isn't doing Mesoraco's development as a catcher any favors by sitting him as often as he does (53 games played and only 48 starts in 2012).
Mesoraco could go to Triple-A and start around 130 games and get the in-game experience he needs to further his progression from top prospect (No. 12 in Baseball America's Top 100 for 2012) to being one of the top catchers in baseball.
Whether Olivo makes the team out of spring training or not, he has the ability to be a factor late down the stretch as an injury replacement or as a full-time backup.
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