Cincinnati Reds: Tucker Barnhart will make fans forget about trade rumors

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 13: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park on August 13, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 13: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park on August 13, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds’ catcher Tucker Barnhart escaped the offseason trade rumors and still part of the team. He now looks to prove the Reds made the right call by holding on to him.

Despite pitching being the Cincinnati Reds‘ biggest need this offseason, many fans were all for dealing Tucker Barnhart this offseason and bringing former Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Queen City. The trade fell through and now Barnhart looks to prove that the Reds made the right decision in holding on to their Gold Glove catcher.

Realmuto was an All-Star last year and is known for his abilities at the plate. The biggest discrepancy between Barnhart and Realmuto is their batting statistics. Barnhart slashed .248/.328/.372 in 2018 while Realmuto was slashing .277/.340/.484 last season. Their fielding numbers are very close, with Barnhart having a slight edge.

Tucker Barnhart was hit pretty hard when the rumors were swirling this offseason. So many fans seemed so comfortable saying goodbye to Barnhart this winter, but he appears to have helped that motivate him to make necessary improvements and prove that the Cincinnati Reds made the right decision.

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The biggest advantage he might have this season to making those improvements is new Reds’ hitting coach Turner Ward. Ward has a knack for improving a player’s power numbers. It’s no secret that he and Yasiel Puig are close friends and working with Ward made a big difference in Puig’s power numbers.

Looking at Barnhart’s numbers from Opening Day, he looked pretty good. He lined out, then singled, then he drew a walk and was one of the base runners to score on Derek Dietrich’s pinch hit 3-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

I still argue that the discrepancy between Barnhart’s and Realmuto’s offensive numbers was not enough to warrant trading a valuable player with such a team friendly contract. The price tag that comes with getting a player like Realmuto is high.

We all know that many things will have to go right in 2019 for the Cincinnati Reds to have a shot at playing October baseball. It’s doubtful that Realmuto was going to be the difference between making a postseason push and missing out on the playoffs.

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Tucker Barnhart and the rest of the Cincinnati Reds players have s renewed energy and confidence in their clubhouse this season. Barnhart should be motivated to prove himself and I would not be surprised at all if the same fans who were offering to buy his plane ticket to Miami or drive Tucker to the airport are singing his praises by the end of the season.