If Devin Mesoraco hadn’t missed a few weeks of the season, he would be right in the thick of things in the NL MVP discussion. The Reds’ catcher homered twice in Sunday’s 7-2 win over the Marlins, helping his club avoid a series sweep at home.
In the first inning, Mesoraco took lefty Brad Hand out to left field for a two-run home run, putting his team on top by a 2-1 score. In the fifth, he padded the Reds’ lead to 7-2 when he took Hand out again, skying a grand slam over the fence in left field.
Mesoraco, in 309 plate appearances, has a ridiculous .293/.366/.580 slash line with 20 home runs and 61 RBI. Most of the 15 players ahead of his 3.4 WAR (via FanGraphs) have between 450-500 total plate appearances. His HR and RBI totals come out to 42 and 128 over 650 plate appearances — a full season’s worth. Quietly, he has been among the game’s best at the plate.
The Reds, at 60-58, are still in the thick of things despite ranking fourth in the NL Central. They sit just five games behind the first-place Brewers and 2.5 games behind the Pirates for the second National League Wild Card slot.
Here are Sunday’s box scores and recaps…
Indians 4, Yankees 1
Reds 7, Marlins 2
Tigers 5, Blue Jays 6 (19 innings)
Mets 6, Phillies 7
Rangers 6, Astros 2
Padres 8, Pirates 2
Red Sox 3, Angels 1
Dodgers 5, Brewers 1
Twins 6, Athletics 1
Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 3 (10 innings)
White Sox 2, Mariners 4
Cardinals 8, Orioles 3
Giants 4, Royals 7
Rays 2, Cubs 3 (12 innings)
Nationals 1, Braves 3
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.