Reds sign Miguel Olivo to minor league contract

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Cincinnati was seemingly set at catcher with Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Reds are close to signing Miguel Olivo.

Olivo has long been overrated by people who focus on his strong arm and 20-homer power rather than his historically awful on-base percentages and passed ball totals, so perhaps it’s just a minor-league deal for the 34-year-old and they aren’t going to send Mesoraco back to Triple-A.

Mesoraco had a disappointing rookie campaign, but his playing time was sporadic and he’s a 24-year-old former first-round pick one season removed from being a top prospect. Plus, in struggling he still posted a higher OPS than Olivo last season. And Hanigan played well as the primary starter last year, hitting .274 with a .365 on-base percentage.

UPDATE: Sure enough, it’s a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. So any teeth gnashing over Mesoraco’s status can probably wait, at least a couple weeks.

Ichiro wore a fake mustache to sneak into the Mariners’ dugout

Associated Press
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Ichiro Suzuki is now a Mariners employee and, as such, he’s not allowed to sit in the dugout during a game. That’s for coaches and players only.

He knows that, too. Indeed, on the day Ichiro announced his sorta-retirement, he talked about how it was going to be hard not to be down on the field with the other players. He even made a ridiculous joke about how, “[he] can’t say for certain that maybe [he] won’t put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout.”

In related news, this mysterious stranger was seen by an Associated Press photographer in the Mariners dugout during the first couple of innings of the M’s-Yankees game:

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

No beard, but I guess that joke was not very ridiculous after all. Either way, by the end of the second inning — poof — he was gone.

Obviously, when something interesting like this happens you mustache an expert for their opinion on the matter. To that end, the Associated Press reached Bobby Valentine, who famously did the same thing after an ejection way back in 1999, for comment:

“He was perfect. I never would have known it was him.”

Valentine was suspended for two games and fined $5,000. I’m assuming Ichiro won’t get hit quite as hard given that he wasn’t defying an umpire’s authority, but even if he does have to pay a fine, he’ll likely do so willingly.