Reds' odd roster move will bring back nightmares from last year's failed experiment

Well this came out of left field, didn't it?

Cincinnati Reds catcher Austin Wynns
Cincinnati Reds catcher Austin Wynns / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

UPDATE: Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson is day-to-day.

There could be more to the story that has yet to be divulged, but the Cincinnati Reds' most recent roster move will have fans reliving the nightmare that was three catchers on the active roster during the 2023 season.

Last season, the Reds carried three catchers — Tyler Stephenson, Luke Maile, and Curt Casali. The original plan was to keep Stephenson behind the plate for about 60% of his starts and have him split time at first base and DH the other 40% of the time.

After one month of watching Stephenson play first base, it was painfully obvious that the plan was going to be an epic failure. Spencer Steer ended up taking over at first base until Joey Votto returned, and the Reds managed to keep three backstops on the roster throughout the entire season.

Reds call up catcher Austin Wynns, option Jacob Hurtubise to Triple-A

The Reds' latest roster move suggests that fans may see the return of the three-catcher system once again. Austin Wynns, who signed a minor-league contract with the Reds prior to the season, was added to the active roster. In a corresponding move, Cincinnati optioned Jacob Hurtubise back to Triple-A Louisville and designated outfielder Conner Capel for assignment.

Friday's game against the Boston Red Sox will see Maile behind the plate and both Wynns and Stephenson on the bench. With Maile now starting his third straight game behind the dish, there could be some sort of nagging injury Stephenson is currently dealing with.

Most Reds fans understood the premise of carrying three catchers at the outset of the season, but as the 2023 campaign heated up and the likes of Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain became fixtures in the lineup, the idea of keeping three backstops around grew tiresome.

It would seem as though, for the moment, Reds fans will have to endure that type of pain once more. On the plus side, TJ Friedl is back in the Reds starting lineup. Friedl had missed the past two games after exiting Monday's contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a hamstring injury.

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