The Reds should re-sign catcher Luke Maile.
Luke Maile was the first free agent the Cincinnati Reds signed a major-league deal this past offseason and he should be the first player they sign to a free agent contract this offseason as well. Maile has been a terrific addition to the Reds this season.
In an effort to help protect the oft-injured Tyler Stephenson from landing on the IL, the Reds had planned to use three catchers throughout the 2023 season. That plan fell by the wayside midway through the season when Stephenson operated mainly as the team's DH while Maile and Curt Casali took turns behind the plate.
But Casali landed on the IL earlier this summer and has yet to return to the Cincinnati lineup. That's forced the Reds to employ Stephenson behind the dish more often, but the duties have been fairly evenly split between Maile and the former first-round draft pick.
The Reds have virtually zero catching depth at the Triple-A level. Chuckie Robinson has played well this season and Jhonny Pereda is an interesting prospect, but neither player is equipped to be more than a backup catcher in the big leagues.
Luke Maile, a Kentucky native, grew up as a Reds fan and would likely love to return to his favorite team in 2024. This should be the easiest negotiation that Cincinnati Reds GM Nick Krall will have all winter. Maile has been a team leader all season and more than just a serviceable veteran backstop.