Author: Aaron Gleeman

Devin Mesoraco, Marlon Byrd

Reds are planning to run Devin Mesoraco into the ground

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Cincinnati just signed catcher Devin Mesoraco to a four-year, $28 million contract and now apparently the Reds are going to run him into the ground.

Reds manager Bryan Price told Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News that he wants Mesoraco behind the plate for nearly every game:

I see him as a Yadier Moilina-type guy who is going to catch 145 games a year, more so than I see him catching 110 a year and playing 20 or 30 at first base. … I anticipate Mesoraco catching a lot more games this year, especially if he stays healthy.

Mesoraco started a career-high 104 games at catcher last season.

In terms of Price’s quote/plan, it should be noted that Yadier Molina has never actually started 145 games at catcher in a season. Or even 140. He’s only started more than 135 games once, in 2009. It should also be noted that Salvador Perez, Jason Kendall, and Russell Martin are the only catchers in the past decade to start 145 or more games in a season.

And there’s a reason why so few catchers do so: They either can’t handle that big of a workload physically, breaking down before they can start that many games. Or their teams recognize what would probably happen if they asked them to start 145 games and decide against it.

Good luck, Devin.

Blue Jays are on the hunt for veteran relievers

Francisco Rodriguez AP
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Their potential interest in a trade for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon appears to be on hold, at least or now, but the Blue Jays are definitely in the market for veteran bullpen help.

Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that they’re “making a strong push” to sign right-hander Ronald Belisario and have been “in contact” with right-handers Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, and Burke Badenhop.

Toronto’s closer for most of the past three seasons, Casey Janssen, signed a one-year deal with Washington yesterday.

Belisario would likely be a middle relief option given his 5.56 ERA for the White Sox last season and 3.75 career mark, whereas Rodriguez and Soriano would likely be late-inning options and possibly even closers.

Angels, David Freese avoid arbitration

David Freese AP
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Third baseman David Freese and the Angels have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $6.425 million contract.

Freese requested $7.6 million and the Angels countered at $5.25 million, so they’ve settled at the exact midpoint.

Acquired from the Cardinals last offseason, Freese got off to a poor start with the Angels before turning things around and ended up hitting .260 with 10 homers and a .704 OPS in 134 games overall.

White Sox sign Gordon Beckham, designate Dayan Viciedo for assignment

gordon beckham getty
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Well, here’s an interesting pair of moves.

Gordon Beckham, who played the first five-and-a-half years of his career for the White Sox before being traded to the Angels in August, has re-signed with Chicago on a one-year, $2 million deal.

And to make room for Beckham’s return to the roster the White Sox designated for assignment outfielder Dayan Viciedo, whom they signed to a one-year, $4.4 million deal to avoid arbitration just two weeks ago.

Presumably the White Sox are close to trading Viciedo, because it’s hard to imagine them eating money to cut him loose when they could have done so for free a couple months ago.

Beckham figures to compete with Emilio Bonifacio for playing time at second base (or maybe third base). He showed a lot of promise as a 22-year-old rookie in 2009, but since then Beckham has hit just .241 with a .660 OPS in 662 games.

Mariners sign John Baker

John Baker marlins
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Veteran catcher John Baker has signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners that includes an invitation to spring training, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Baker was once a solid starting catcher for the Marlins, but he’s been mostly injured for the past five seasons and hasn’t produced offensively when healthy enough to be in the lineup.

Dating back to 2010 he’s hit .209 with a .540 OPS in 186 games, including .192 with a .504 OPS in 68 games for the Cubs last season.