Apparently the Cincinnati Reds roster is pretty clean and tidy. There are very few holes and very few roster spots up for grabs. One that is uncertain at this juncture in the spring is that of the backup catcher.
Last season, that was handled by Devin Mesoraco. He didn’t really do that great of a job, though, so the Reds signed veteran Miguel Olivo to a minor league deal with a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
Here is why that is a great idea. First and foremost, Mesoraco just didn’t do that good of a job last season. Frankly, he barely broke the .200 mark in batting average and was responsible for plating very few runs. Defensively, he is solid but not spectacular. Basically, the truth of the matter is that the backup role needs to be handled better than that if at all possible.
Enter Olivo, the veteran who most recently played with the Seattle Mariners. He has hit for better average by a few points but more importantly, he is more productive in the runs department. Defensively he is also solid, but his arm is better. The biggest difference is experience. Something is just wrong about the backup catcher being a young guy.
That spot needs to be someone who can talk the young superstar catcher through rough spots. He needs to catch the pitcher who has trouble for one reason or another. The backup catcher takes on many special projects and jobs throughout the season and Olivo will do that heads and shoulders better than Mesoraco.
I wish the kid well. Maybe he needs more work on his offense in the minors or maybe he just isn’t comfortable with the backup role and sitting on the bench. Either way, if the Reds want to make the right choice here, no matter what happens this spring, they should choose Miguel Olivo.