Luke Maile threw out baserunners with more than average aplomb for the Cincinnati Reds during the 2023 regular season, and his pop time ranked in the 70th percentile among all catchers across Major League Baseball, too. Pretty average with both blocking and the arm and not necessarily the world’s greatest pitch-framer, Maile also chipped in with a .307 wOBA and 86 wRC+ that made him just about as average with the bat for a catcher as could be (league average marks were .302 wOBA and 89 wRC+, for the record).
All told, that’s not a bad investment at the $1.18 million rate he earned for the Reds last year. And while it appeared he was destined to reach free agency upon the end of the World Series, that apprently isn’t going to be the case. The Reds ponied up a guaranteed $3.5 million to keep Maile around for at least the 2024 season, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, with a club option for him to stick around for 2025, too.
Reds news: Backup catcher Luke Maile is returning for 2024. He was re-signed to a one-year contract with a club option for 2025. Total guaranteed value of the deal is $3.5 million.— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) October 19, 2023
Maile, a Reds Country native who attended Covington Catholic High School, is just about the ideal backup catcher, even at the rate he’ll earn going forward. The question, though, is whether incumbent starter Tyler Stephenson can return to the form that made him one of the future stars of the catching community prior to the injuries that ended his 2022 season early - his 85 wRC+ and .305 wOBA marks were actually lower than Maile’s, leading to the overall Reds catching corps ranking just 18th in both across the game.
Welcome back, Luke!