On Tuesday, Sandy Alderson pulled the old “kill two birds with one stone” trick on his roster, as he shed a decaying Matt Harvey while acquiring a veteran catcher. This trade happened to be with the Cincinnati Reds, who the Mets just happened to be playing that night. They acquired Devin Mesoraco, a one time All-Star that has seen his career decline due to injury. Now, read the second part of that sentence over again. That sentence could easily be used to describe the player the Mets traded away to get Mesoraco. Did Sandy Alderson acquire the catcher’s version of Harvey?
Mesoraco was drafted by the Reds as their first round pick in 2007. He quickly became known as “the groundhog” to the Cincinnati fan base, as he is from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In the minor league system of the Reds, Mesoraco began to make a rise through the system. After spending about four years in the minor leagues, he finally received that special call to the big leagues on September 3rd, 2011. Over the next few years Mesoraco improved his game to where he was selected to the 2014 All-Star game. He finished that season with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs. After 2014, the injuries started to pile up for the backstop, and he has not played more than 60 games since that season.
We all know the narrative of how Harvey was the shining star that crashed back down to Earth for the Mets. It is interesting to draw comparisons between him and Mesoraco however. They were both first round draft picks, and at one time they were both considered the top prospect in their organization. Both have also seen injuries limit them and derail their career after making their lone appearance in the All-Star game. Most relevant now is that they both probably needed a change of scenery in the worst way possible.
Of course the one difference between the two players is the reputation that they carry. The feuds between Harvey and the Mets have been as public as can be, which led to many Mets fans begging for the departure of their former starlet. Mesoraco of course comes with less fanfare, and a lot less baggage. I don’t know what the attitude towards Mesoraco is in the Reds fan base, but he never seemed to cause a storm like the one that Harvey constantly brought around the locker room.
By acquiring Mesoraco, Alderson attempted a quick fix on this lineup that desperately needed a catcher. Yes, they rid themselves of Matt Harvey, which was a big deal to many Mets fans. In acquiring Mesoraco, the Mets in turn acquired the catching version of Harvey. Much like the Reds have hope that they can salvage something out of Harvey, the Mets are hoping that they can salvage something out of the once promising catcher from Cincinnati. The two may be similar in the way that their career arcs have went, but I’m sure we won’t hear Mesoraco say “I’m a starting catcher. I’ve always been a starting catcher.”