Do the Reds really need to carry 3 catchers in 2023?

Cincinnati Reds, Tyler Stephenson
Cincinnati Reds, Tyler Stephenson / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds plan all spring has been to open the season up with three catchers. A move that is outside the normal and could raise some eyebrows. But is the plan worth it?

The Reds made two separate moves this offseason that revolved around two catchers. Signing free agent Luke Maile back in November along with inking former Red Curt Casali a month later to a deal, helped to beef up the backstop position.

After the year Tyler Stephenson had last season with injuries, it was a hot topic of debate amongst Reds fans as to where he should play moving forward. Early in camp, the plan for Stephenson was made clear and public. So do the Reds really need three catchers on the roster?

Do the Reds really need to carry 3 catchers in 2023?

Typically I'd be against having three catchers on the same roster. In this situation, it's important to look at the usage in which David Bell intends to employ in 2023. It was reported early in spring that Tyler Stephenson would see a good amount of time at first base along with DH.

With the injuries suffered by Stephenson last year, there was a debate in most Reds circles about whether or not changing a position would become necessary. This new strategy seems to answer the question.

There were a few times over the last couple of seasons where David Bell would deploy Stephenson and whoever the the backup catcher was in the same lineup. Nothing made me more frustrated, as injuries can happen and then you're stuck in a difficult spot.

Looking at the Cincinnati Reds roster and how Bell plans to move forward, it's best to look at Tyler Stephenson as more of a "hybrid" player. Yes, he will be the team's primary catcher, however, he will also be occupying other spots in the lineup.

When Stephenson is in the lineup and not setup behind the plate, there will be another catcher on the Reds bench in case anything happens. Three catchers on the team isn't a bad thing when one of them will be filling other positions as well.

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