4:50pm: The club has announced the signing.
3:30pm: The Pirates have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher Luke Maile, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). It’ll be a MLB pact, with financial details still unknown. Maile is a client of Pro Star Management.
Maile, 28, has turned in abysmal showings with the bat in two of the past three seasons. He was nearly a league-average hitter in 2018, when he slashed .248/.333/.366 in 231 plate appearances. But Maile owns just a 48 wRC+ for his career and was worse than that in 2019.
Clearly, the Bucs aren’t making this move on the presumption that Maile will be a valuable offensive contributor. The hope is that he’ll be capable of delivering at least palatable work from the batter’s box, though the team surely knows even that can’t be relied upon.
When the Pirates decided to drop Elias Diaz at the outset of the winter, the club made clear it wanted to improve defensively. That’s an area that Maile can be trusted. He grades as an above-average overall defender, generally receiving positive reviews in the framing department, and has been trusted by the Rays and Jays in spite of his occasionally dreadful offensive output.