Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 4/25/12

The Cincinnati Reds, one of the preseason favorites to win the NL Central, are 8-9, 2.5 games out of first place. On the surface, that looks fine. But dig a little deeper, and you realize that the team's offense has been awful. They're htiting just .229 with only 11 homers, and with the entire team struggling, it's hard to point the blame at one person. Well, I can think of at least one change that will benefit the team a lot: starting Devin Mesoraco five days a week, and turning Ryan Hanigan into the full-blown backup.

Mesoraco was a preseason favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year award. Last season in AAA Louisville, Mesoraco had an .855 OPS and 15 homers, numbers good enough for the team to throw him on the Opening Day roster this season. However, he's only played in eight games and gotten 27 plate appearances. He hasn't started since Saturday against the Cubs. Mesoraco isn't really struggling this year. He's hitting .304/.407/.348, and while his power is slumping, that's something that can easily change when you're dealing with a sample size this small.

Instead of starting the super talented and young Mesoraco (who I'm a fan of immensely for sharing a birthday with me), Dusty Baker is instead giving the majority of plate appearances behind the plate to 31 year-old Ryan Hanigan. Hanigan is struggling this season, hitting just .222/.317/.250. Hanigan has started the last two games for the Reds, and I'm sure Baker is going to spout off the usual "hot hand" nonsense. Hanigan has six hits in his last five games, but has just one extra base hit and two walks over that time period. For the record, Mesoraco has five hits in his last 11 at bats, so if Baker really *is* using the hot hand theory, he's full of crap.

It's not as if a fellow blue chipper or aging veteran is blocking Mesoraco. Hanigan has a career line of .273/.369/.363, and last year, he hit .267/.356/.357. He's coming off of back to back two win seasons, but Mesoraaco's ceiling is much higher than that. I can understand easing the rookie into game action, but it's silly to continue to play the veteran when he's being outperformed by the youngster. 

Look what happened in 2005 with the Braves, when Brian McCann was the stud minor league prospect, and Johnny Estrada was the incumbent coming off of a three win season. Estrada struggled over the first two months of the season and McCann was called up in June. The two split time over the final four months of the year, with McCann getting more of a playing time advantage. McCann started three out of the four Braves playoff games, and Estrada was gone from the Braves after that season at age 29. Or hell, look at 2010 with the Giants. Bengie Molina was the incumbent, and was a disaster on offense. The Giants called up Buster Posey at the end of May, he hit like a freight train, and the Giants won the World Series.

The Reds have a few problems right now, and giving Hanigan more playing time than Mesoraco is just one of them. If Dusty Baker doesn't budge on this situation, someone needs to get involved and explain to him that Hanigan isn't the answer for the Reds.

Photo courtesy of Daylife.com


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bucks president threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

ESPYs golf classic moving from Trump course

Report: Pierre-Paul could miss training camp, start of season

Report: Spurs sign David West

Report: Marc Gasol signs five-year deal with Grizzlies


Manu Ginobili announces he will return next season

Robinson Cano dealing with stomach ailment all season

Tony Romo on Dez Bryant's contract: 'I think it will work out'

Dwayne Bowe: I’m here to fill Josh Gordon’s shoes

Report: DeAndre Jordan was tired of Chris Paul's antics

Marcus Smart eager to show full skill set with injury behind him

Carli Lloyd needs help to carry all her World Cup awards

Russell Wilson abstaining from sex with girlfriend Ciara

Coach K on meeting Beyonce for first time: 'I felt like 13'

Three-star TE Michael Irvin Jr. commits to Miami

Bryce Harper skipping HR Derby because of dad's injury

Braves the most interesting team to watch at the deadline?

Video shows FSU QB De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Is James Harden dating Khloe Kardashian?

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Dwyane Wade: I'll retire 'when I can no longer play'

How Matt Ryan became “Matty Ice”

The long road of an NBA second-round pick

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Report: Giants pull offer to Pierre-Paul

Report: Jordan was tired of Chris Paul

2015 All-Star starters announced

JPP injured in fireworks mishap?

Odell Beckham doesn't want to be known for 'the catch'

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.