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Devin Mesoraco Rumors
JUNE 20: The Reds have announced that Mesoraco will have surgery June 29. The surgery appears likely to end his season. Since the news that Mesoraco would likely need surgery, he made a handful of appearances as a pinch-hitter and DH. He has not, however, appeared in a game since May 20. He has hit .178/.275/.244 in 51 plate appearances this season.
MAY 5: Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has acknowledged that his hip injury will likely require surgery that will sideline him for up to four months, reports MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon (via Twitter). For the time being, Mesoraco is trying to exhaust all possible alternative treatments before undergoing an operation, according to Sheldon.
The 26-year-old Mesoraco has taken just 28 trips to the plate this season and hasn’t started a game since April 11. Brayan Pena and Tucker Barnhart have handled the bulk of the catching duties in his stead, although the Reds curiously have not placed Mesoraco on the disabled list despite the fact that he has made just six pinch-hitting appearances since his last start.
Mesoraco inked a four-year, $28MM contract extension with Cincinnati this offseason on the heels of a breakout 2014 campaign in which he batted an excellent .273/.359/.534 with with 25 home runs in 114 games/440 plate appearances. Mesoraco’s ability to recreate that outstanding production — valued at 4.5 fWAR and 4.8 rWAR — was considered by many to be a key component as to whether or not the Reds would be able to compete in the NL Central this season. While Cincinnati sits in third place at 12-13, the potential loss of a star-caliber catcher certainly dampens their chances of staying afloat in a highly competitive division. Many pegged the Reds as eventual sellers even when assuming that Mesoraco would be healthy. One would imagine that if Cincinnati does end up looking toward the future come July, names like Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, each of whom is in his final year of club control, would be among the most desirable assets on the trade market.
In an effort to salvage some production from what would otherwise be a season lost to hip surgery, the Reds will try to work out injured catcher Devin Mesoraco in the outfield, reports C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Manager Bryan Price said that the move is not a permanent one, and he’s been assured that the risks of delaying what appears to be inevitable surgery to relieve an impingement in Mesoraco’s hip are not significant. According to Price, doctors have said the Mesoraco can undergo the surgery this offseason and still expect to be ready for Opening Day 2016. “He’s on board,” said Price of Mesoraco. “He’s a huge part of it and I do believe that he’s seen a guy in New York as well that did a followup on his MRI results and test results. So we’re trying to make sure all the bases are covered that if we’re going to do something like this, that we’re doing it with enough time to make sure he’s ready to go on Opening Day 2016 behind the plate.” Price added that Mesoraco will not return to the club as only a pinch-hitter, so if he’s unable to work in the outfield, the timetable for surgery could be accelerated.
Here’s more from baseball’s Central divisions…
- Minor surgery on the ailing right ankle of Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco cannot be ruled out, writes Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Nolasco underwent three-plus days of “aggressive” treatment on the injured joint, but Thursday’s bullpen session had to be cut short after eight to 10 pitches. Nolasco, who has been placed on the disabled list, told reporters: “It was still killing me. I can’t risk throwing with no lower body. I just got my elbow right for the first time in a long time. I can’t go out there and risk blowing that out or something.” Clearly, the four-year, $49MM contract given to Nolasco has not paid dividends for the Twins so far, but his work after apparently getting his elbow on track was encouraging. In 29 2/3 innings between his DL stints, Nolasco pitched to a 4.25 ERA with a 26-to-6 K/BB ratio. His ERA likely would’ve been lower had he not been plagued by a bloated .385 BABIP in that time.
- The Indians have four of the rarest and most valuable commodities in baseball, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. In Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer, Cleveland has four young, controllable, hard-throwing strikeout pitchers that can be built around for the foreseeable future. Passan’s article is a fascinating piece that examines Cleveland’s use of weighted-ball programs throughout the organization as one of multiple different ways to develop pitching. Bauer spoke to Passan about how exciting it is to be with an organization that is dedicated to and open-minded about finding new ways to develop pitching. “They actually believe you can develop players and that they don’t just develop by pitching in games and getting more reps,” said Bauer. “You can actually increase the development process. They’re always open and looking for new strategies, differing technologies, instead of shunning new ideas because that’s not how they did it 20 years ago.”
- Ryan Braun is away from the Brewers to undergo a second cryotherapy session on his right thumb, writes Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Braun first experimented with this treatment, which uses a needle to introduce sub-zero temperatures to a troublesome nerve in the digit, last October, and he feels it helps get his hand back to 100 percent, per manager Craig Counsell. “And if we can keep him at close to 100 percent then we get the great Ryan Braun for 150 games,” said Counsell. “It apparently has a shelf life, I guess you could say, and we’re kind of getting up on that shelf life.” Brewers head athletic trainer Dan Wright says that the procedure will be effective for three to four months, but Braun may have to continue to go in for these sessions for the rest of his career, so long as it remains effective. Braun is expected to rejoin the team during its weekend series with the Twins.
The Reds are suffering through an eight-game losing streak and, as you’ll read here, dealing with a number of key injuries as well. Here’s the latest from Cincinnati…
- Johnny Cueto will have his right elbow examined today, Joe Kay of the Associated Press tweets. Cueto missed his scheduled start on Sunday due to what manager Bryan Price described to reporters yesterday (including MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon) as “more than his usual elbow stiffness,” which prompted the Reds to be cautious with their ace, though Price felt Cueto probably could have pitched if absolutely necessary. “I don’t think it’s anything anybody is concerned with….If he needs a little extra time, he’s certainly earned it,” Price said. It should be noted that an elbow exam is a pretty routine step whenever a pitcher is experiencing any discomfort, so the fact that Cueto is undergoing an examination is not necessarily a bad sign. Still, Price said today that Cueto “hasn’t had total relief. I’d have thought by now, he would.” Any type of health issue for Cueto is worth monitoring given his status as both one of the top free agents of the 2015-16 offseason and potentially a big deadline trade chip for the struggling Reds.
- In a welcome turn of events for Reds reliever Sean Marshall, the left-hander could be back pitching this season, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Last week, Marshall went in for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder, which was expected to end his season and potentially threaten his career. Instead, doctors discovered that full surgery wasn’t needed and instead just removed some scar tissue, so Marshall could be back on the mound this year if all goes well in his recovery. The southpaw has thrown just 25 1/3 innings over the last two seasons due to a variety of injury problems, including rotator cuff surgery last June.
- Devin Mesoraco has been placed on the 15-day DL (retroactive to last Thursday) with a left hip injury, the team announced via Twitter. Mesoraco has been limited to 51 plate appearances this season due to his hip impingement, and he’s appeared as a catcher in only six of his 23 games; the Reds have been trying to keep him healthy by using him as a pinch-hitter and interleague DH. Both the player and team were looking to exhaust all possibilities before turning to surgery, though a season-ending hip operation may now be the only option.
- The Reds are looking more and more like trade deadline sellers, and though Jay Bruce is only hitting .211/.311/.408 in 164 PA, he could be a trade chip, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. “I’d take a flyer on him and see if our on-the-field people could fix him,” an AL scout told Fay. “He looks healthy. His home runs and walks still grade out at 60 to 65 (on the 80-point scale). It’s just that his hit-ability is at 25 right now.”
Veteran right-hander Aaron Harang may soon join his ninth major league franchise, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Harang’s career trajectory includes a dominant, stable peak with the Reds followed by a multi-season reinvention with a handful of clubs. With the Phillies in rebuild mode, Harang is a prime trade candidate. His 1.82 ERA, 6.67 K/9, and 1.97 BB/9 would represent an upgrade for any club. However, it’s worth noting his 4.12 xFIP. Harang has allowed just two home runs despite a high fly ball rate. Kepner offers more detail about Harang’s transformation from power pitcher to crafty veteran.
- Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has experienced a setback with his left hip impingement, reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Mesoraco indicated that this week would be “pivotal” in deciding if the condition required surgery. He hasn’t been in the lineup the last two days, but he might be available to pinch hit tomorrow. To this point, club and player have attempted to avoid the surgical option.
- Dodgers catcher Yasmany Grandal has a “mild concussion,” writes Anthony Witrado of MLB.com. Last night, Grandal was hit in the jaw by a Yangervis Solarte backswing, and he took a Matt Kemp foul ball off the mask. The club expects him to be ready to resume baseball activities in a few days. He may only require the minimum seven day stay on the disabled list.
- Shelby Miller has done well to make the Braves look good for trading Jason Heyward. However, Tyrell Jenkins is doing his best to improve the return for the Braves. The 22-year-old righty has performed strongly in Double-A. Scouts and players credit him with excellent makeup. He tore his lat in 2012 and 2013 which has delayed his development as a prospect. He’s now fully healthy for the first time in years and reaching 96 mph on the gun. Although he has a shiny 2.94 ERA, his 5.71 K/9 and 3.81 BB/9 could stand to improve.
In his latest piece at FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal opines that the Reds and Brewers represent two of the teams that most desperately need to take a step back and sell some veteran pieces in order to improve for the future. However, Rosenthal notes that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and Reds owner Bob Castellini are both exceptionally committed to winning, and either one could see enough misleading signs on the current roster to be persuaded into pushing for contention this season. The Brewers are 5-4 under Craig Counsell and have Jonathan Lucroy nearing a return from the DL, while the Reds have Michael Lorenzen now in the rotation, with Raisel Iglesias presenting a potential option to help a woeful bullpen. Despite that, Rosenthal feels the two NL Central clubs need to focus on the future — a sentiment with which I agree, as the other three teams within the division appear poised for long-term success, while the Brewers and Reds lack deep farm systems.
Here’s more from the NL Central…
- Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco‘s injury situation continues to take some twists and turns, but it seems he is on the mend somewhat. As C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, Mesoraco says he is increasingly optimistic that he will be able to stave off hip surgery, which once seemed likely. Now, the club is working him out in the outfield as it looks for a way to get his bat in the lineup while he tries to prepare again for catching duties.
- The Cardinals have placed center fielder Jon Jay on the disabled list due to tendinitis in his left wrist. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted last night, the injury to Jay had the Cards pondering a roster move, but Randal Grichuk is recovering from a back injury, and Stephen Piscotty is not on the 40-man roster. Xavier Scruggs has been recalled from Triple-A, but if a long-term need arises, I don’t imagine that he’d be the preferred option. If there’s a silver lining for St. Louis, it’s that Peter Bourjos has hit quite well this season and presents an elite defensive option while Jay is on the shelf.
- Jean Segura is the latest member of the Brewers to land on the disabled list, as the team announced that he will be sidelined with a broken pinkie finger in his right (throwing) hand. Prospect Luis Sardinas, acquired from the Rangers in the Yovani Gallardo trade, has been recalled to fill Segura’s spot, but the loss of Segura is another blow to a Brewers club that, as mentioned above, seems destined to end up trading veteran pieces this summer.
- Of particular note on the Segura injury front is that Segura himself has seen his name floated, at least in speculative fashion, as a potential trade chip for the Brewers. While the missed time will do little to enhance his trade value, it does give Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin the opportunity to see what he has in Sardinas. The 21-year-old switch-hitter was ranked as a Top 100 prospect with the Rangers prior to both the 2013 and 2014 seasons (per Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus), and he hit a solid .288/.324/.386 in 141 Triple-A plate appearances this season. If Sardinas looks capable of assuming a larger role with the Brewers, the concept of trading Segura would become less of a stretch. Segura is, after all, slated to become arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and would figure to return some nice talent, as he is controllable through 2018 and has looked better at the plate in 2015 than he did in 2014. (He is still, admittedly, quite a ways from his 2013 peak, however.)
After a more in-depth look at the Brewers earlier today, here’s a look around the rest of the NL Central…
- The Reds will not pursue catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia despite an injury that could force Devin Mesoraco to undergo hip surgery, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Mesoraco will serve as a pinch-hitter/interleague DH and try to delay surgery for as long as he is able. The Reds have 8 games in AL parks over the coming two weeks, Rosenthal adds. The decision not to place Mesoraco on the disabled list is strange, to say the least, as he’s contributed a mere eight plate appearances to the Reds dating back to April 12. By opting not to place Mesoraco on the DL, the Reds have given manager Bryan Price a limited bench with which to work and prevented themselves from perhaps adding some defensive versatility or speed to the bench.
- Oft-injured Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia has ramped up his throwing program to a 70-pitch live BP, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports on Twitter. At this point, St. Louis probably cannot count on much from Garcia, given his significant shoulder problems, but would surely welcome the opportunity to get what it can from him with Adam Wainwright down for the year.
- The Pirates ought to seriously consider giving more time to infielder Jung-ho Kang, Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review opines. Pittsbugh’s offense has scuffled badly, of course, with shortstop Jordy Mercer and third baseman Josh Harrison among the struggling starters. It would not be surprising to see Kang appear more frequently in the lineup, particularly given that he has exhibited some promising signs with a 10.3% walk rate, 17.9% strikeout rate, and sturdy .265/.333/.412 overall batting line, along with solid-enough defensive ratings, all in a short sample. Harrison, at least, presumably has a reasonably long leash after signing a significant extension over the offseason.
Injuries remain perhaps the largest driver of needs in the early part of the season — a topic that MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes and I explored in today’s podcast with respect to starting pitching. Let’s have a look at some key injury situations around the game:
- Rehabbing Royals starter Kris Medlen is headed to extended Spring Training to begin throwing against live batters, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports. That leaves him on track for a rehab assignment in May. Kansas City has $8.5MM riding on the righty’s ability to return to form after his second Tommy John surgery.
- The Reds are missing two key cogs in backstop Devin Mesoraco and righty Homer Bailey. As Michael Hunt reports for MLB.com, manager Bryan Price says that Mesoraco — still not on the DL despite a 17-game absence from his usual catching duties — is still not ready “to try it out just yet,” adding that Mesoraco is “coming along slowly.” There are longer-term concerns with regard to Bailey, of course, and surgery is said to be on the table. “We’re probably going to know in the next one-to-two days what our plans are with Homer,” Price said. “You spend a lot of time when you make a diagnosis, fact-finding and making sure everything you see is as it appears. That’s been the time consumer, making sure it is what we think it is and finding the best way to treat it.”
- Marlins starter Jose Fernandez is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, of course, and recently faced hitters in a live BP session for the first time. You can check out the video of his outing, courtesy of FOX Sports Florida.
- After a pause in his rehab, Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon is preparing for another Double-A appearance in the coming days, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports. The issue has not been with his knee, which caused him to hit the DL to start the year, but with tightness in his side. That’s good news for the club, obviously, as is the fact that reliever Casey Janssen appeared in an extended spring game. He is set to begin his own run up through the minors in short order, per Ladson.
- Injured Tigers starter Justin Verlander is set for a third MRI on his right triceps area early next week, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (Twitter links). Meanwhile, reliever Joe Nathan underwent his Tommy John procedure yesterday, Fenech tweets, with Nathan saying that it went well. It figures to be a long road back for the 40-year-old, but indications are that he’ll try to return to the big leagues.
Five current members of the Astros bullpen (Luke Gregerson, Chad Qualls, Pat Neshek, Joe Thatcher and Sam Deduno) were on the 2011 Padres, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart notes. Astros manager A.J. Hinch was an executive with the Padres in 2011, but he says the Astros weren’t intentionally aiming to acquire former Padres players. “When we started this offseason, we wanted to have multiple guys that could finish games,” says Hinch. “Chad Qualls has a long history of closing, and Neshek and Gregerson were added for that reason. The way the game has evolved, those last nine outs are really hard to get, and to have guys that have done it before is nice to have.” Here are more quick notes from around the Majors.
- Outfielder Chris Young has had much more success with the Yankees than he had with their crosstown rivals, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “We’ve always talked about [how] New York sometimes can be a tough place to get used to and adjust to. Sometimes it takes some players some time,” says Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “The way he’s played for us, I’m a little bit surprised that’s what happened [with the Mets], but he’s been really good for us.” Young now has 17 extra-base hits in 112 plate appearances with the Yankees going back to last season, after having just 20 in 287 plate appearances with the Mets. He’s also done a better job hitting for average and getting on base. His history suggests he might come back to earth, but at only 31, he could continue to help in a part-time role in the Bronx. Hoch notes that Young’s contract contains a series of bonuses for plate appearance thresholds, so if Young continues to play well, he could end up making significantly more than the $2.5MM he’s guaranteed.
- The Reds say catcher Devin Mesoraco (hip impingement) was available to pinch-hit this weekend, but his absence in the ninth inning with the tying run aboard against the Cardinals says otherwise, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Mesoraco wasn’t even in the team’s clubhouse after the game, Rosecrans reports. Mesoraco has been out for a week now, but the Reds continue to play with a short bench, even though they could place Mesoraco on the disabled list and backdate the move to April 13. In any case, being without a healthy Mesoraco hurts the 5-6 Reds — he earned a January extension after hitting .273/.359/.534 in a breakout 2014 season.
The Reds received some favorable results on Devin Mesoraco‘s MRI, reports MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. The MRI showed no serious issue in Mesoraco’s sore right hip, and the catcher is expected to avoid a trip to the disabled list, per manager Bryan Pr ice. Mesoraco is rehabbing at the facility of Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek but could be available at some point during the current series with the Cubs or the next series against the Cardinals.
Some more NL Central items as Cincinnati and Chicago square off…
- The Cubs placed Tommy La Stella on the disabled list today and recalled lefty Zac Rosscup from Triple-A in his place. But, as Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago details, the situation is particularly intriguing because of what it could mean for a potential call-up of Kris Bryant. Cubs president Theo Epstein sidestepped a question on how the situation pertains to Bryant, stating that his call-up depends on what’s happening with the Cubs’ roster and with Bryant’s development. Rogers points out that both La Stella and Mike Olt are dealing with injuries now, however, and Friday marks the point at which promoting Bryant will not cost the team a year of club control. The Cubs have made a habit of promoting prospects on the road, Rogers points out, but he wonders if La Stella’s injury will change their thinking in this instance.
- Maddon is pleased with the information and scouting reports he’s receiving from the Cubs‘ baseball operations department, he tells MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. “Our geeks are good,” Maddon joked. Maddon also voiced a comfort in rostering three catchers, referring to David Ross, Miguel Montero and Welington Castillo as the team’s “three-headed catcher.”
- In an infographic piece for FOX Sports, David Golebiewski outlines the reasons that fans should buy into Josh Harrison‘s late emergence as a star. In particular, Golebiewski notes a drastic change in Harrison’s ability to handle inside fastballs and his ability to use the entire field. While Golebiewski points out that Harrison likely won’t maintain last year’s .353 BABIP, his new approach at the dish and defensive prowess make it very likely that he can remain a key component of the Pirates‘ roster.
Mets owner Fred Wilpon has been notably quiet regarding his club in recent season, but expressed cautious optimism in a brief chat with Mike Puma of the New York Post on the occasion of the team’s home opener. “I’m excited about this team and I’m hopeful,” said Wilpon. “One doesn’t know — we’ve all been around a long time — but the fact is I like the guys on this team. I think there is a lot of talent and I think there is a lot of character.”
Here’s more from the National League:
- The Reds do not appear overly concerned with Devin Mesoraco‘s hip injury, with skipper Bryan Price saying that he expects the franchise catcher to return soon, as John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter. While the club has already moved to add another backstop to the roster in Kyle Skipworth, it seems that Cincinnati expects it to be a short-term patch.
- With both Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella dealing with minor injuries, speculation has turned to whether the Cubs will move up Kris Bryant‘s timeline. As Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said the club will continue to “weigh all the factors” in deciding when to bring up the game’s top prospect, noting that the Triple-A season is just underway and that the Cubs want Bryant to establish a “rythm” in the minors. “His development is an important factor as well as the needs of the big league team,” said Epstein. As Rogers notes, Friday is the first day that Bryant can be called up while still preserving an extra season of future control.