3. Will the Reds pick up Tucker Barnhart’s team-option?
This has become a very emotionally-charged question over the last couple weeks. Once it became apparent that the Cincinnati Reds were out of playoff contention, the attention of the fans shifted to who’ll be coming back in 2022. The Reds hold a $7.5M team-option on Tucker Barnhart. Will they exercise it?
The 2021 season, in many ways, was a measuring stick for Tyler Stephenson. The Reds non-tendered Curt Casali last winter, basically paving the way for Stephenson to split time with Barnhart behind the plate.
Stephenson’s offensive potential is thorough the roof. The 25-year-old looked like a veteran out there this season, coming up clutch when the team needed him the most. Stephenson also didn’t commit a single error behind the dish. Stephenson recorded 4 defensive runs saved while splitting time with Barnhart and gunned down 8 of a would-be 34 base stealers this season.
It’s time for Tyler Stephenson to take the next step and become the Cincinnati Reds questioned starting catcher. Stephenson needs to be in the lineup every day, and the team can no longer afford to platoon him with another catcher.
Will the Cincinnati Reds pick up Tucker Barnhart’s team-option? Sorry folks, I’m not seeing it. The fact is, Tyler Stephenson needs to be in the lineup five-to-six days a week, and that’s not going to happen with a veteran like Barnhart on the team. The Reds instead, will pay Barnhart’s $500K buyout, allowing the backstop to enter free agency for the first time.