The Toronto Blue Jays appear content with the light-hitting Luke Maile breaking camp with the team in a backup role to catcher Russell Martin.
The backup role was a position in flux all last season as Manager John Gibbons employed five different catchers to spell off Martin at various times throughout the campaign. Along with the Maile, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Miguel Montero, Mike Ohlman and Rafael Lopez all spent time behind the dish.
It was initially thought the Jays would attempt to shore up the position via the free agent market this offseason, however, nothing came to fruition. The likes of Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Ruiz, and Geovany Soto are three of the more prominent catchers who currently remain unsigned.
General Manager Ross Atkins addressed the media yesterday advising that it is less likely at this point in the offseason that they will look to adding an additional backstop.
The Jays are well positioned on the farm for the future with Danny Jansen, Max Pentecost and Reese McGuire all honing their skills for the opportunity to be the heir apparent to Russell Martin. Any of the three could get the call at some point during the 2018 season.
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Maile is an above average defender with adequate game-calling abilities however it is with his stick where he falters, the 27-year old offers virtually no offense on the other side of the diamond. Last season Maile hit .146/.176/.231 with 2 round trippers in 46 games before suffering a meniscus tear in his right knee.
Maile boasts an uninspiring .183 average in 103 career MLB games over three seasons with the Jays and Tampa Bay Rays. The big right-hander owns a .253/.331/.357 line with 19 home runs in 421 games over 6 minor league seasons.
There are not many teams throughout the league who sport a backup catcher with a legitimate MLB bat however the Jays could greatly benefit from an offensive-minded backup especially with a healthy Martin realistically only playing 100-110 games at this point in his career.
Perhaps an opportunity to upgrade will present itself later in the spring, but for now, the Jays are content with Maile in the interim.