The Mets have begun working out catcher Devin Mesoraco at first base, according to David Lennon of Newsday. Mesoraco was seen not only taking ground balls early in the morning, but also getting reps with the other infielders during their drills a half hour ago.
Mesoraco, 30, made one appearance at first base last season with the Cincinnati Reds, with his other 3,000-plus big-league innings spent behind the dish. Aside from three appearances in the outfield with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate in Louisville, moreover, Mesoraco has not fielded any other position in his professional career.
New York agreed to bring Mesoraco back into the fold this past offseason on a minors pact following a 66-game showing in Queens that featured a .222/.306/.409 batting line with 10 homers and 30 RBI. All told, the 1.0 offensive WAR made for his best offensive season since 2014, when he posted a career-high .893 OPS en route to his only All-Star game appearance. He is two of his first dozen this spring with a solo home run.
His eight passed balls last season tied for the fourth-highest in the National League with Wilson Ramos and Yasmani Grandal, despite Mesoraco logging nearly 300 fewer innings. Among 34 catchers with a minimum of 550 innings in 2018, Mesoraco’s 21% caught-stealing percentage ranked fifth from the bottom, and his -11.9 framing runs above average does little to compensate.
With concerns surrounding the health of Travis d’Arnaud, who started his spring a little later due to residual elbow troubles following a Tommy John procedure he underwent last year, Mesoraco was signed and brought back into the fold to serve as depth. Nonetheless, the door has remained open for the Punxsutawney native as a potential backup catcher. Improving his versatility could go a long way as he strives to build further credibility as a possible option to back up for Ramos.