Catcher Luke Maile Agrees to Deal with Milwaukee Brewers

Luke Maile

Defensive-minded catcher Luke Maile agreed to a major-league contract, terms unknown, with the Milwaukee Brewers, according to a report Tuesday.

Maile did not play in 2020 after fracturing a finger during a Pittsburgh Pirates intrasquad game. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report the deal, which is pending a physical. The Brewers have not announced the signing as of yet.

 

Catcher Conundrum

The move comes a day before the Brewers must decide whether to tender contracts to their two primary catchers from 2020. Omar Narvaez and Manny Pina are arbitration-eligible and one or both are candidates to be non-tendered.

Narvaez was a disappointment offensively, with a .562 OPS, including just two home runs and 10 RBIs in 40 games. Pina, 33, is also a defense-first catcher, but he is coming off a knee injury that cut his season short. Narvaez made $2.725 million in 2020 and Pina $1.85 million.

No Offense

Maile is likely a cheaper option than Narvaez or Pina after missing all of 2020 following surgery in July. He signed a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Pirates.

A right-handed batter, Maile has hit .198 with 10 homers and 60 RBIs in 605 at-bats over five seasons in the majors. He has a career OPS of .556. The Pirates released Maile in October.

Backup Option

Luke Maile, who turns 30 in February, has been a career backup with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. He was expected to be the backup to Pirates starting catcher Jacob Stallings in 2020 before he was hit by a pitch and broke his right index finger. Maile played in a career-best 68 games in 2018 with the Jays.

He was drafted in the eighth round of the 2012 draft by the Rays, whose front office included Matt Arnold, recently promoted by the Brewers to general manager.

Main Image
Embed from Getty Images