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Reds lock up Devin Mesoraco for four years

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Mesoraco is up for arbitration for the first time this offseason. Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the team is working on a deal with their All Star catcher to skip over that process in a big way.

Details are scarce right now. All we know is that it's rumored to be a "multiyear extension." At minimum, that means the Reds are buying out his next two arbitration years. Slow news day or not, though, it's probably a bigger deal than that to merit its own post.

One way they might go is the Johnny Cueto route and grab one of his post-arbitration years. Cueto signed a four-year deal in his first year of arbitration (after the 2010 season) in which the Reds bought out his three arbitration years, plus one, allowing Cueto to hit the market after his Age 29 season.

Under that model, Mesoraco would be a year older when he reaches free agency - which can be older still for a catcher - so he may be angling for a bigger deal or sticking strictly to his three remaining arbitration years. In either case, hopefully the Reds are following the Cueto/Bruce model, rather than the Votto/Bailey model. The latter is where they drop a huge chunk of change paying for peak/prime performance that may never be replicated. Extensions can be scary.

Compared to the bigger extensions the Reds' have handed out recently, the difference here is that Mesoraco is three years out from free agency and, as a catcher, may be especially keen to have some financial security. The team is likely to get a considerable discount.

Spring is coming early for the Punxsutawney Kid.