The Cincinnati Reds spent the majority of the 2012 season with a tandem catching team of Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco behind the plate. Dioner Navarro provided decent veteran ability as well, but the Reds could hardly say the position was an area of strength in 2012. Ryan Hanigan was excellent defensively and was able to manage a league leading 3.05 catcher's ERA on the season. Mesoraco struggled a great deal, but he has tons of upside. Navarro provides stability, but he will be a free agent. So which way will the Reds go in 2013?
Will they bring back Dioner Navarro?
With Navarro, you have a known commodity. Offensively he is going to give you the occasional timely hit but not much more. Defensively he will keep your starters and bullpen comfortable and call good games behind the plate in a pinch. I would love as a fan to have him around just in case. I never was excited to see him come to the plate, but I always felt secure defensively when he was in there.
Is Mesoraco still in the plans?
This guy is loaded with talent and I pray that the Reds don't give up on him or trade him. He has some issues to work through to be sure, but he is a capable catcher and has more potential offensively than anybody in the system. It would not surprise me to see them use Mesoraco as trade bait of some sort, but it would be a huge mistake. Keep him and work with him and it will pay off.
Ryan Hanigan will continue to lead the way
The pitchers all seem to love Ryan and he did a fantastic job this season with the staff. I expect that he will still be the primary guy behind the plate for at least the coming year, but I sure wish he could improve his offense. At least you can count on about a .275 average and the occasional key hit from him. Hanigan is a solid catcher that will likely be a part of the Reds for years to come if they play their cards right. (no pun intended)
All of these options are legitimate ones for the Reds and I would not even be surprised to see them go with a new catcher altogether. It is not all that common for them to do that sort of thing with decent options in place, but if the right guy came along they might. This is particularly true if Navarro gets away in free agency. Regardless, I would not be totally opposed to another year of Hanigan and Mesoraco teaming up. Perhaps we will get a clearer picture about Mesoraco without Navarro on the roster.
*Southern is a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan that grew up watching Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and the boys dominate the Major Leagues. He longs for those days once again in Cincinnati.
More from this contributor:Five Reasons the Cincinnati Reds Look like Champions in 2012: Fan's Take