The Cincinnati Reds are one of a few teams in Major League Baseball that actually carry three catchers on the active roster.
Heading into the season, the Reds had the idea of using Tyler Stephenson as both a catcher and first baseman, but that idea seems to have faded. Stephenson hasn't played first base since April.
To make matters worse, the hitting just hasn't been there from the team's three backstops. Stephenson, Luke Maile, and Curt Casali are a combined 76-for-330 (.230) and have 23 extra-base hits and 35 RBIs. Collectively, the Reds group of three catchers rank 11th on the team in batting average.
Which Reds catcher will lose his roster spot later this season?
It'll be curious to see how much longer the Cincinnati Reds will continue to carry three catchers. The Reds have recently called up top prospect Elly De La Cruz, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand won't be far behind.
With Wil Myers, Nick Senzel, TJ Freidl, and Joey Votto all scheduled to return from the injured list later this month, the roster is going to become very crowded once everyone is fully healthy.
Tyler Stephenson appears to be the catcher of the future in Cincinnati, and while he hasn't mashed well this season, represents the best hitter among the trio of backstops on the Reds active roster.
So, that narrows the list to the veteran duo of Luke Maile and Curt Casali. Both bring something to the table. Maile has the stronger arm, while Casali calls the better game. Both are arguably beter defenders than the aforementioned Stephenson.
Casali has been far too valuable to the team's young pitching staff, and in the end, that should tip the scales in the 34-year-old's direction. When the time comes, the Cincinnati Reds should keep Casali and designate Maile for assignment.
Hunter Greene specifically has reaped the benefits from Casali's pitch calling during his previous two starts. Over 12 innings of work, Greene's allowed just two hits while striking out 19 batters. Casali is a vital part of this year's Reds team and maintains a mutual-option for the 2024 season.