clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cubs free agent target: Tucker Barnhart

The former Reds catcher might be a good fit on the North Side.

David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cubs are going to contend in 2022, they need upgrades at several positions, including backup catcher. While P.J. Higgins did an okay job backing up Yan Gomes and Willson Contreras in 2022, he’s not the kind of guy who you’d want as the backup on a contender. That’s especially true if Contreras signs elsewhere and the catching tandem is Gomes plus someone else.

Some have floated the names of Sean Murphy (A’s, by trade) or Omar Narváez (free agent) as possible Cubs targets, but I think the guy who might fit pretty well and also is the sort of player Jed Hoyer’s front office goes after is Tucker Barnhart.

After spending eight years with the Reds, Barnhart was traded to the Tigers last offseason as the Reds freely dumped salaries. Barnhart didn’t hit particularly well in Detroit, but then again, the entire Tigers team seemed to forget how to hit in 2022. Detroit finished last in MLB in runs, home runs and only the awful A’s prevented them from finishing last in OPS and OPS+.

Barnhart continued to play well defensively, though. He threw out 28 percent of runners attempting to steal against him (above the MLB average of 25 percent) and he’s thrown out 32 percent of runners trying to steal over his nine-year career.

Pitch framing? Eh, not so much — he ranks in the bottom third of catchers per Statcast. But in a year or so, framing isn’t going to be a thing anymore.

Barnhart made $7.5 million last year, which is likely the reason the Reds got rid of him. Coming off a mediocre hitting year and entering his age-32 season, perhaps the Cubs could sign him for two years and $8 million. That would be a reasonable salary for someone backing up Gomes, who is under contract for $6 million for 2023.

What say you?


Tucker Barnhart...

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    ... the Cubs should sign him for a contract similar to the one in the article
    (176 votes)
  • 5%
    ... the Cubs should sign him, but it might cost more in years or dollars or both
    (30 votes)
  • 16%
    ... the Cubs should try to sign him for less than the contract noted in the article
    (93 votes)
  • 43%
    ... the Cubs should not sign him
    (242 votes)
  • 3%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (18 votes)
559 votes total Vote Now