Blue Jays: Is there room for Luke Maile in 2019?
By Joshua Giles
With the emergence of two, young and talented catchers for the Blue Jays, and Russell Martin not guaranteed to go anywhere, is there room left for Luke Maile on Toronto’s bench?
Luke Maile has served the Toronto Blue Jays well, as a backup and sometimes starting catcher over the past couple of seasons. He was never anything flashy, but Maile as a backup was pretty dang productive for the Jays.
Good enough it turns out that Toronto gave him 95 more plate appearances this year than they did last year. And it turned out to be a good thing for the team. So let’s look at the cases for and against keeping Maile around.
The case for keeping Maile
Maile as a hitter has been pretty productive for the Blue Jays, especially when they needed him the most. When Maile has runners on, he had a slash line of .277/.404/.386. He has an even better line with runners in scoring position with a .294/.415/.353, and bases loaded? .333/.400/.333. And it’s not like he had a limited amount of at bats where he had these opportunities either. In the 231 times when Maile came to the plate, 83 of those attempts had runners on base. Not too shabby for the 27-year-old catcher.
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His offence is a huge plus for him, but he also has some solid defence. Not terrific, but a fielding percentage of .989 isn’t anything to scoff at, and he’s been fairly effective at keeping the opposing running game in check.
The case for moving on
A cluttered catchers roster. Maile is good, but he doesn’t have the knowledge and experience that Russell Martin has, as well as not being as young or having as bright of a future as Reese McGuire or Danny Jansen.
Jansen is set up to be the future of the Toronto Blue Jays catching core and will be taking over once Martin is gone from the Blue Jays, but until then Toronto should keep him around in the major leagues so he can absorb as much wisdom from the veteran backstop as he can.
Even if Toronto started the season with McGuire in the minor leagues for the Jays, there would still be three catchers filling the roster spots, which could be better suited elsewhere.
Assuming everyone is still around, the best case scenario for the Blue Jays is to maybe rotate Martin in the infield seeing as he proved he can hold his own as a third basemen and also at second. Maile could be used as a DH half the time, seeing he has experience in that area and his hitting rivals Toronto’s actual DH Kendrys Morales. This would get the best of every player as well as Toronto being able to keep Jansen in the MLB to learn as much as possible from Martin.