Reds Re-Sign Luke Maile – MLB Trade Rumors

The Reds have re-signed catcher Luke Maile to a one-year contract with a club option for 2025, the team announced. Maile is guaranteed $3.5MM on the new deal (per Mark Sheldon of

Maile, now 32, was signed by the Reds a little less than a year ago, inking a one-year deal with a $1.175MM guarantee in November. The club also nabbed Curt Casali in the same offseason, hoping that a three-catcher system would keep Tyler Stephenson healthy all year by allowing him to spend some time at first base and designated hitter.

That plan worked insofar as Stephenson stayed healthy enough to play 142 games compared to just 50 in 2022, though his production didn’t cooperate. Stephenson had hit a strong .319/.372/.482 in 2022 but fell to .243/.317/.378 in 2023, his wRC+ going from 135 to 85.

Maile’s offensive production was fairly similar this year, as he hit .235/.308/.391 in his 199 plate appearances, but he brought a strong defensive reputation to the club. Defensive Runs Saved has never tagged him with a negative number and his +1 this year pushed his career tally to +22. Pitch framing metrics have soured on him a bit in recent years but he still has positive grades there for his career as a whole. He rated as above-average on Statcast’s blocking leaderboard and throwing leaderboard this year.

Perhaps more importantly than the metrics, it seems Maile was a good fit on the club, a key trait for catchers as they need to have a working relationship with everyone on the pitching staff. “He was great with all of our guys,” Reds president of baseball operations Nick Krall said today, as relayed by Mark Sheldon of “Staff loved him, players loved him. He was a really good fit. He’s a tremendous guy.” Krall added: “He’s a guy our pitchers were comfortable with, our coaches were comfortable with,” he said. “We loved having him this year. It was a pretty easy decision.”

Maile was set to become a free agent in a couple of weeks but it seems the club liked him enough to prevent that from happening. The $3.5MM guarantee is roughly triple what he got at this time a year ago but is still a perfectly reasonable salary for a solid backup catcher.

The catching options on the free agent market aren’t amazing and the Reds have bigger needs on the roster, particularly the pitching staff, so their best seems to be to give Stephenson a chance to get back on track in 2024. He will qualify for arbitration for the first time but will still be affordable and have the potential upside he has shown previously.

Both Maile and Casali were set to become free agents, the latter having a 2024 mutual options with the Reds. Mutual options are rarely picked up by both sides and Casali hit a dismal .175/.290/.200 in 2023. It seems fair to expect the club will move on from him and go with the Stephenson-Maile pairing next year.

There is still the possibility that they add a third catcher to keep Stephenson fresh again, though that plan will be a little more challenging next year. The club graduated a large number of position player prospects in 2023, which means their first base and designated hitter slots are far more crowded now compared to a year ago. Even if Joey Votto isn’t back next year, they will likely have Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Spencer Steer taking time at first, with Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte perhaps squeezed into DH duty by the presence of Matt McLain and Jonathan India in the middle infield. This squeeze already affected Stephenson in 2023, as he got plenty of starts at DH in the first half of the season but just one after July 6.

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Julieta Elena

Tiene más de 5 años de experiencia en la redacción de noticias deportivas en línea, incluyendo más de cuatro años como periodista digital especializado en fútbol. Proporciona contenido principalmente relacionado con el fútbol, como avances de partidos y noticias diarias. Forma parte de desde abril de 2023.

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