Reds: 3 players Cincinnati could trade and still remain competitive

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 17: Wade Miley #22 of the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 17: Wade Miley #22 of the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds walks back to the dugout.
CINCINNATI, OH – JUNE 10: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds walks back to the dugout. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

3. Tucker Barnhart, Reds catcher

This one is extremely debatable. Even I struggled to write Tucker Barnhart‘s name down. But the fact of the matter is that Barnhart is 30 years old and his contract is up at the end of the season. Barnhart has a $7.5M team option that I have a hard time seeing the Cincinnati Reds pick up given that Tyler Stephenson has shown himself capable of playing behind the plate.

There is no debate that from a defensive standpoint, Barnhart is the superior catcher. Fans cannot expect Stephenson, in only his rookie season, to best Barnhart in terms of his ability to work with the pitchers, call a game, or handle the position defensively. Barnhart is among the best in the game and may be on his way to a third Gold Glove.

That said, Tyler Stephenson is the better hitter and it’s not even close. In roughly the same number of games and about 20 fewer at-bats, Stephenson leads Barnhart in home runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. Barnhart does have five more doubles that Stephenson and has racked up four more RBIs.

Now, where moving on from Tucker Barnhart becomes complicated is the team’s depth at catcher. The Reds don’t have any. Sure, Kyle Farmer could don the tools of ignorance for a game or two, but that would remove Cincinnati’s best defensive player from the infield.

Beau Taylor would probably the Reds’ best option, and though he owns an .802 OPS this season at Triple-A Louisville this season, Taylor’s brief stint in the major leagues yielded a batting average of just .118 and a .492 OPS.

Next. 3 trades that would fix the Reds' broken bullpen

Moving on from Tucker Barnhart would mean Tyler Stephenson becoming the Cincinnati Reds full-time backstop. If the front office and coaching staff are ready to make that commitment, then trading Barnhart becomes a difficult, yet necessary decision. There are an ample number of teams who’d be willing to give up some talented pitchers in order to land Barnhart’s services.