The Cincinnati Reds are one of just five teams in Major League Baseball that currently have three catchers on their active roster. The Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers also employ three backstops.
Carrying two catchers is commonplace, but there are very few circumstances that would ever require a third active catcher on any given day. These instances are even more rare with the extra innings rules that activate the ghost runner on second base. Most extra-inning games aren't going much beyond the 11th inning.
So that begs the question, is carrying three active catchers limiting the Reds in any way? Is it the reason they have a few major league ready prospects sitting in Triple-A? It may be.
Does carrying 3 catchers limit the Reds ability to call up top prospects?
The Cincinnati Reds are currently carrying just four infielders, however, Nick Senzel has the ability to play on the infield dirt, and has become a fixture at third base in recent weeks. If the Reds are in a position to call up one of their top prospects, one of the catchers may need to go.
Cincinnati has three infield prospects that are on the brink of making their major league debut, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand are all infielders and the Reds have made no mention of moving any of them to the outfield.
It seems unlikely that Kevin Newman would be optioned to Triple-A, and the Reds continue to run out Jose Barrero on a regular basis. If the Reds are unwilling to send either down to Triple-A, the front office will have to look elsewhere in order to open up a spot on the roster. The outfield may be a hit overcrowded with, but with two or three prospects likely to be brought up, one of the catchers will have to go.
Tyler Stephenson is the obvious choice to stay, as he is one of the most talented players in the Reds organization. His spot is safe for years to come with a 0-percent chance of ever being optioned back to the minors.
That leaves the Cincinnati Reds with a tough decision between veterans Luke Maile and Curt Casali. Neither of these players are going to be game changing players for the Reds, but they do hold a rather valuable roster spot. How long will the Reds continue to carry three catchers?