Tyler Stephenson's disappointing 2023 season presents the Reds with problems moving forward

Tyler Stephenson has looked like a shell of himself this season.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson / Jeff Dean/GettyImages
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The Reds are unlikely to dip into the free agent market to replace Tyler Stephenson.

Tyler Stephenson's primary backup is a free agent this offseason. The Cincinnati Reds need to do everything in their power to retain Luke Maile who signed for a little less than $2-million this past offseason.

Maile has been a team leader and provided a spark to the Reds offense. Since the All-Star break, Maile is hitting .343/.410/.600. But throughout his career, Maile has never eclipsed 76 games played and had a career-OPS+ of 61 coming into this season. Maile is a fine catcher, but it's questionable if he could carry the load for an entire season.

Curt Casali's contract contains a $4-million mutual-option for next season. The Reds have only one player under contract for the 2024 season, but bringing Casali back at $4-million in a season where he's hit just .175 in a reserve role seems rather unlikely.

The free agent market is very weak heading into the winter. Players like Yasmani Grandal, Jorge Alfaro, and Victor Caratini don't exactly move the needle. Travis d'Arnaud is the best catcher that could hit the open market, but the Atlanta Braves maintain an $8-million team-option for 2024.

With so many young catchers in their farm system, it seem very unlikely that the Cincinnati Reds would look to free agency to replace Tyler Stephenson. Other than re-signing Luke Maile, there's little appeal on the open market this winter.