The Cincinnati Reds were looking at an offseason where they needed to figure out who would be the other catcher to go along with Tyler Stephenson as Luke Maile was set to become a free agent and Curt Casali spent much of the year struggling to hit or on the injured list and had an option on his contract. That’s not a problem they need to spend much time worrying about now because the club announced that they had re-signed Maile for the 2024 season and have a team option for 2025. Mark Sheldon of Reds.com reports that the deal is worth $3,500,000.
For Maile, the 2023 season may have kept his career alive. Coming off of a season in which he had just a .627 OPS with Cleveland in 2022, he got another chance in the big leagues with the Reds. With both Tyler Stephenson and Curt Casali also on the roster, it took some circumstances early on to get Maile time in the lineup and on the field. Joey Votto’s shoulder recovery not being ready in time to begin the year opened up some time as Stephenson spent time as the designated hitter and first baseman early in the season.
With more playing time than he otherwise would have gotten, Luke Maile took advantage of it, especially early in the year. In 22 games through the end of May he hit .259/.310/.482 as he showed off some power and mixed in a solid average. He slumped real hard after that all the way up to the All-Star break – hitting just .146/.205/.244 in 20 games from the start of June through July 19th. After the break he hit well once again, posting a .759 OPS in 32 games played.
In a strange twist that you wouldn’t expect, Maile really struggled to hit at Great American Ball Park, posting a .595 OPS and slugging just .301. In road games he hit .244/.323/.488 with 13 of his 16 extra-base hits on the year.
Behind the plate, Maile threw out 23% of opposing baserunners. That’s better than the league average of 19%. Of course, we tend to understand that more often than not it’s the pitchers who have the bases stolen on them and not so much the catcher. Maile graded out below-average on pitch framing this past season according to Baseball Savant. He graded out above-average on his ability to block pitches. His pop time average of 1.93 graded out well above-average, too.