3 free agents, not named Tucker Barnhart, that could back up Reds' catcher Tyler Stephenson in 2023

Seattle Mariners catcher Curt Casali.
Seattle Mariners catcher Curt Casali. / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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An overwhelming majority of Reds Country would love to see a reunion between the Cincinnati Reds and former catcher Tucker Barnhart. Barnhart was traded to the Detroit Tigers last offseason but will be a free agent in a few weeks.

It makes sense, right? Barnhart is coming off a down-year, he lives in the tri-state area, and the Reds are need of a backup catcher to starter Tyler Stephenson. The pieces fit. But it takes two to tango. Just because the Reds may have interest in re-signing Barnhart, will the two-time Gold Glove Award-winner feel the same way?

While most of the Cincinnati faithful are hopeful for a reunion with the veteran backstop, the bottom line is that the Reds will have to find a veteran catcher in free agency. What three free agent catchers, not named Tucker Barnhart, could find their way onto the Cincinnati Reds roster in 2023?

1. The Reds could re-sign free agent catcher Austin Romine.

Let's begin with perhaps the most obvious choice. Austin Romine was brought to the Cincinnati Reds in early-August to help offset the loss of the injured Tyler Stephenson. While Romine's bat is nothing to write home about, he worked very well with a young Reds pitching staff.

As the end of the season drew closer, fans began to see Romine consistently getting time when the young trio of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft were on the mound. Rookie catcher Chuckie Robinson would get the start when either Chase Anderson or Luis Cessa were on the mound.

The young Reds pitchers heaped praise onto Romine for his ability to call a good game behind the plate. While the veteran hit just .155/.187/.248 in 2022, his leadership and intangibles were felt throughout the pitching staff and the clubhouse.

Austin Romine would come cheap, and that's typically music to Bob Castellini's ears. A career OPS of just .616 isn't going to excite many Reds fans, but re-signing Romine could go a long way in the continued development of a young Cincinnati pitching staff.