2. Curt Casali may have played his way out of the Reds' 2024 plans.
This one isn't as cut and dry as Nick Senzel, but will the Cincinnati Reds really look to bring back Curt Casali in 2024. The catcher has provided plenty of veteran leadership in the clubhouse and well respected by his teammates and the coaching staff.
But, is that enough to justify paying $2.5-million for a backup catcher with Luke Maile entering free agency this offseason? The Reds maintain a club-option for Casali's services next season, but Maile's contract is up after the World Series.
Casali was essentially Hunter Greene's personal catcher earlier this season, but with the flamethrower on the IL, Casali's time behind the dish was drastically reduced. Currently on the IL himself, Casali is on a rehab assignment and looking to return to the active roster very soon.
If the Reds pick up Casali's $2.5-million option, they're basically committing to carrying three catchers again next season. David Bell did a fine job of navigating that for the first several months of the 2023 season, but it's going to be hard to justify doing so once again in 2024.
It wouldn't come as a shock to see Curt Casali return in 2024. Casali's 3 defensive runs saved is second on the team according to Fielding Bible, so there is some merit to brining the soon-to-be 35-year-old back next season. But carrying a player with an OPS below .500 is a tough sell.