CHICAGO – With the departure of Willson Contreras to the Cardinals in free agency, the Cubs were in need of another catcher.
It appears they found that person on Thursday.
Per numerous reports, the first from Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic, the Cubs have a deal with catcher Tucker Barnhart. Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the contract is two years for $6.5 million with the potential to rise to $9.5 million.
The club has yet to confirm the move.
A native of Indianapolis, Barnhart was with the Reds organization for most of his career after they drafted him in the tenth round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He made his debut with Cincinnati in 2014 and played with that franchise through the 2021 season, winning National League Gold Glove Awards in 2017 and 2020.
Barnhart’s era with the Reds came to a close when he was traded to the Tigers before the 2022 season. In 94 games with Detroit, the catcher hit .221/.287/.267 with ten doubles, one homer, and 16 RBI.
He had a .996 fielding percentage with a 28 percent caught stealing percentage in the 92 games he was behind the plate with the Tigers.
During his 761 games as a catcher, Barnhart has a 32 percent caught stealing percentage with a .997 fielding average. In 838 contests overall, the catcher has a slash line of .245/.320/.360 with 125 homers, 52 homers, and 277 RBI.
After the departure of Contreras, Barnhart will join Yan Gomes and Miguel Amaya as the catchers for the club at the moment. It’s most likely that the new free agent will split a lot of time with Gomes, who just completed his first season with the Cubs.
In 86 games as Contreras’ primary backup, the 11-year MLB veteran hit .231 with eight homers and 31 RBI.