Luke Maile cannot stay on the Reds roster for much longer

Cincinnati Reds catcher Luke Maile
Cincinnati Reds catcher Luke Maile / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds went into the 2023 season with the notion of carrying three catchers on the active roster. There was plenty of merit to the idea after watching Tyler Stephenson hit the IL three separate times in 2022 and only appear in 50 games.

But if a team is going to carry three catchers, you need to find ways to get them all onto the field on a regular basis. Of the 19 games the Reds have played, Stephenson has started nine as the team's backstop. He's been at first base for two starts and has seven starts as the team's DH.

If the Reds want to keep three catchers, then Stephenson's starts at catcher and first base need to be flipped. Otherwise, Cincinnati needs to bid farewell to Luke Maile.

Luke Maile cannot stay on the Reds roster for much longer.

Luke Maile is not a bad catcher. He's actually very good defensively. According to FanGraphs, Maile has 21 career defensive runs saved behind the dish. But that's not the type of player that you want as your No. 3 catcher.

If the Reds were operating as most teams do and carrying only two catchers, most fans wouldn't have a problem with either Maile or Curt Casali acting as the backup so long as Tyler Stephenson is QB1. But if Stephenson is starting more than half the games behind the plate, it makes little sense to keep three catchers.

Maile is hitting just .188 in six games this season and has struck out in half of his at-bats. The Kentucky native also has zero walks. This Reds team is not built to have below-average hitters taking up a spot on the roster.

The only way this three-catcher experiment works is if Tyler Stephenson spends five-plus games as either the Reds first baseman or designated hitter. Otherwise, Cincinnati needs to scrap the idea, roll with the duo of Stephenson and Curt Casali behind the plate, and call up a player like Matt McLain to take Luke Maile's place on the active roster.

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