The Detroit Tigers today acquired catcher Tucker Barnhart from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for infielder Nick Quintana.
Barnhart, one of 27 catchers in Major League history to win multiple gold glove awards (2017 and 2020), was one of baseball’s most durable and effective backstops in 2021. He was one of nine catchers in the National League to play at least 116 games last season, posting a 1.2 fWAR with a .247/.317/.368 slashline, seven home runs and 48 RBI.
“Coming into this off-season, we knew that catcher was a priority position for us,” said Al Avila, Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager. “During our strategy meetings over the last couple of weeks in Lakeland with my front office staff, Tucker’s name came up many times as an attractive option for our ballclub as someone who is a real plus defender, knows how to lead a pitching staff and is a solid contributor from the batter’s box. After feeling interest from the Reds to make a deal, we moved quickly to make it happen and kick off our off-season transactions.”
“While it’s bittersweet to be leaving the organization that drafted me, I couldn’t be happier to join the Tigers,” said Barnhart. “This is an exciting time for a team that’s undergone such a big transformation over the last few years. A.J. is one of the best managers in all of baseball, and I’m looking forward to working with him, the coaching staff and other teammates to bring the playoffs and a World Series Championship back to the Motor City.”
Batting from the left side, Barnhart has played in parts of eight seasons with the Reds since debuting in 2014 and had just one stint on the injured list. Among the 92 qualified catchers over that span, he ranks seventh in walks (246), 10th in games played (744), 18th in total bases (841), 21st in K/BB ratio (2.04) and 25th in OBP (.324). His standout season came in 2017, when he blasted 33 extra-base hits and slashed .270/.347/.403. Per FanGraphs, that season he led all Major League catchers in defensive value and defensive runs saved.
Barnhart, 30, is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana and was originally drafted by the Reds in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. His positive impact extended far beyond the field, as he was named Cincinnati’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in both 2018 and 2020. Tucker, and his wife, Sierra, have two children.