It has been reported that the Colorado Rockies are looking for some catching help. Could that help come via a trade with the Cincinnati Reds?
Our friends at BlogRedMachine.com (covering the Cincinnati Reds) recently put together an article on the possibility of the Reds trading away 28-year-old catcher Tucker Barnhart in the offseason. One of the reasons behind the trade possibility is that the Reds are believed to be one of the front-runners to land free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal.
If Grandal comes to Cincinnati, the Reds will reportedly be looking to shift away from Barnhart, who could fill a hole for a team at catcher and provide a left-handed bat as well (Barnhart is a switch hitter but has been far more successful from the left side of the plate). The New York Post believes Barnhart could be a fit for the Yankees if the dominoes fall correctly.
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Barnhart is due to make $3.5 million in 2020 (base salary) and $3.75 million in 2021. Both seasons there is a $437,500 signing bonus distribution added in as well. A club option for 2022 is on the table for $7.5 million with a $500,000 buyout.
If he came to Colorado, Barnhart would be a part of a tandem with Tony Wolters, who also bats left-handed. That could be one of the negatives as well as a down offensive season in 2019 that resulted in a platoon forming in Cincinnati with Barnhart and Curt Casali, who is under team control for the next three seasons.
The positives? Barnhart earned a Gold Glove in 2017. After a down year defensively in 2018, Barnhart rebounded and put up solid defensive stats last season. He was second among all catchers in Runs Against Average (15.9) and in the top 10 in the percentage of pitches caught outside the strike zone that were called a strike (10.1%). He has been praised for his pitch framing efforts.
Last season, he threw out 22.6 percent of attempted base stealers. And, despite the platoon, Barnhart posted a career-high 11 homers and batted .273 with an .815 OPS and six home runs in the second half of the season.
In 590 career MLB at-bats, Barnhart is slashing an average of .250/.328/.371. The numbers are adequate and the Rockies could well be happy with the defensive presence Barnhart would provide.
If the Rockies are looking for help behind the plate and are willing to deal a prospect, and if the Reds are looking to upgrade at catcher with Grandal, Barnhart could make sense and fill an immediate need in Colorado.