Tucker Barnhart has been one of the most consistent players in the Cincinnati Reds organization since his debut in 2014. With talent like Tucker’s behind the plate one has to wonder why the Reds front office would entertain offers for their Gold Glove catcher?
As Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings continue, rumors are circulating that the Cincinnati Reds have joined in on trade talks for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. The original story had the Reds giving Tucker Barnhart and prospect Taylor Trammell to the Marlins in exchange for Realmuto.
However, in a matter of hours reports changed to indicate the the Reds are talking to the L.A. Dodgers about acquiring outfielder Yasiel Puig and left-handed pitcher Alex Wood in exchange for Barnhart, Homer Bailey, and Vladimir Gutterez.
It is unclear exactly what, if anything will come from these rumors. But one thing is abundantly clear. There is absolutely no logical reason for the Cincinnati Reds to be shopping their Gold Glove catcher with three years remaining on a very team-friendly contract.
Barnhart is nothing if not solid, consistent, team-oriented, and talented. He is a phenomenal defensive backstop. Barnhart is a Gold Glove Award winner sporting a .998 fielding percentage behind the plate, tying St. Louis Cardinals All-Star Yadier Molina. Over nearly 1,000 innings in 2018, Tucker had 871 putouts, 53 assists, and 4 double plays. Those are just his fantastic fielding stats.
Tucker Barnhart was also a solid bat in the Cincinnati Reds lineup this year. Slashing .248/.328/.372 with 21 doubles, 3 triples, 10 home runs, and 46 RBIs, Tucker was as solid at the plate as behind it. He actually ended the season by going 5-for-5 against the Pirates, with a double and a 2-run home run.
Barnhart showed a certain amount of versatility this season as well. He made 11 appearances at first base after Joey Votto went down with an injury. With 60 putouts, 4 double plays and 3 assists, it is clear Barnhart’s talent as a fielder extends past his catching abilities.
Tucker Barnhart is, in my opinion at least, the best catcher in Major League Baseball. It would take a lot to convince me that moving him for any reason is a good idea. Realmuto, Puig, and Wood are all great players, but there is really no reason for the Reds to be looking at anything other than pitchers this offseason.
Alex Wood would be the only one of the three players mentioned that Cincinnati needs. With a plethora of free agent starting pitchers on the market, who are just as good if not better than Wood, the Reds should take the free agent route rather than give up one of their own.
Getting good starters in the rotation does not have to come at the cost of some of the Reds’ best talent. Since Barnhart is under team control until 2022 and considering his abilities both defensively and offensively, it’s a no brainer that he is not someone Cincinnati should be looking to trade.