Luke Maile addresses a need the Reds desperately needed to fill

Cleveland Guardians catcher Luke Maile.
Cleveland Guardians catcher Luke Maile. / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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On Monday, the Cincinnati Reds made steps toward filling out their roster for the 2023 season with the addition of former Cleveland Guardians catcher Luke Maile.

The Reds went through six different catchers (Tyler Stephenson, Mark Kolozsvary, Austin Romine, Chuckie Robinson, Michael Papierski, and Aramis Garcia) last season, and only one is still on the roster as the Winter Meetings are set to begin next week.

Cincinnati went into the offseason with a clear need; an experienced major league catcher to back up starter Tyler Stephenson. They got that in Luke Maile.

Luke Maile signed a one-year contract with the Reds.

The Cincinnati Reds have seen a changing of the guard lately when it comes to the catcher's position. The Reds went into 2019 and 2020 with the tandem of Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casail. Tyler Stephenson joined the party in 2020 which allowed the Reds to part ways with Casali the following winter.

Barnhart was traded after the 2021 season with all eyes focused on Stephenson to carry the torch headed into 2022. Unfortunately, a series of injuries allowed Stephenson to play just 50 games last season, and it became apparent that an experienced catcher was one of the team's biggest needs this offseason.

Amid speculation and rumors that Cincinnati would turn to Barnhart to be the Reds' backup in 2023, it now appears as though Luke Maile will fill that role. While Reds GM Nick Krall will likely add another catcher or two to the roster, those joining Maile and Stephenson in Goodyear next spring will likely be signed to minor league contracts.

Luke Maile isn't going to provide the offensive pop that Tyler Stephenson possesses, but the soon-to-be 32-year-old has provided a steady presence behind the dish for seven seasons and has 21 defensive runs saved along with a .992 fielding percentage. Maile has also thrown out 30.5% of would-be base stealers during his career.

Maile may not be the name that many Reds fans were hoping for, but the Universtiy of Kentucky product certainly fills a need. It's also a clear signal, barring any additional signings, that Tyler Stephenson will be the Cincinnati Reds' starting catcher in 2023.

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