The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Luke Maile to help fill the void that the organization has at the catcher position. Two weeks ago, the Pirates cut ties with Elias Diaz in a move that left a gaping hole in an already weak position. Maile figures to be part of the plan to fill that hole.
The profile on Maile to this point in his career is rather simple, he offers very little with the bat, but makes up for it, in some part, with his glove. Luke's career batting average is .198. His 10 home runs in his 605 career at-bats show very little power, and his 4 career steals leave little to be excited about. Maile is a Major League Baseball player solely because of his defense.
Typically, I would roll my eyes at such a player taking up a roster spot, but at catcher you better have strong defense. It's so important that it might just be worth trading offense for it. So, I'm fine with the Pirates prioritizing defense at this position. However, if you're excited about this signing to the extent that you feel it solves the catcher problem in Pittsburgh, cool your jets. Luke Maile is a good defensive catcher, but I'm not sure he's better than Jacob Stallings, especially considering Stallings has already built a strong rapport with members of the pitching staff. Stallings also offers more with the bat. So, for now it appears that the Pirates will enter 2020 with Stallings as the starter and Maile as his backup.
I wouldn't be surprised if a trade of Marte or Frazier yields the catcher of the future who is a little more complete, but I'd be surprised to see them do too much more to address the immediate need. There really aren't any long-term options available that we should be excited about. Also, Stallings surprised with the bat and excelled behind the plate last season. So, it makes sense to give him a shot to be the guy. At the very least it will make his pitchers happy.
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