The Chicago Cubs are reportedly signing catcher Tucker Barnhart to a deal.
It has been known for a while star catcher Willson Contreras would not be back in a Cubs uniform. That was made official a few weeks ago when he signed with the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Many wondered where the Cubs would turn to provide some depth behind the plate alongside catcher Yan Gomes.
Sources: Cubs closing in on a deal with veteran catcher Tucker Barnhart. Looks like Cubs have their guy to pair with Yan Gomes.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) December 22, 2022
Well just a few days before Christmas and we have our answer. According to Jon Heyman, Sahadev Sharma, and Ken Rosenthal the Cubs have agreed to sign catcher Tucker Barnhart. According to Heyman, it is a 2-year deal worth $6.5 million guaranteed for the veteran in Barnhart.
Barnhart Cubs deal. 2 yr deal. 2024 is a PLAYER option. total guarantee $6.5M, with the total PB’s and escalators the deal has potential to get to $9.5M. Pending physical.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 22, 2022
The Cubs will now go into the 2023 season with veteran Yan Gomes as the opening day starter, but needed a backup catcher as you cannot expect Yan Gomes to be the main guy behind the dish day in and day out on the north side of Chicago. Barnhart helps fill this role as not only the backup, but a left handed option for manager David Ross as well.
Barnhart is coming off a rough season in 2022 with the Detroit Tigers where he only hit for an average of .221, and a .287 OBP. Wrigley Field is definitely more hitter friendly compared to Comerica Park, so hopefully those numbers can increase this upcoming season. The Cubs are also hoping that getting Barnhart back to the National League Central Division can help bring some of his success he had with the Cincinnati Reds where he won two Gold Gloves in 2017 and 2020.
Cubs fans were starting to get reckless as it seemed like every catching option whether it be through free agency or with trades was coming off the board and going somewhere else. This is not the flashiest pickup, but with the options left on the table for catching help it seems to make the most sense for the Cubs moving forward. Hopefully Jed Hoyer and the rest of the Cubs front office still has plans to improve this roster more going into the 2023 season.
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