Former Reds Gold Glove Award-winner drawing interest from division rival
By Drew Koch
The Cincinnati Reds have added three catchers to the roster since rumors popped up about the team's interest in re-signing former backstop Tucker Barnhart.
Cincinnati signed former Cleveland Guardians catcher and University of Kentucky product Luke Maile to a one-year contract. Chuckie Robinson was signed to a minor league pact with the Reds as was Jhonny Pereda.
With Tyler Stephenson installed at QB1 behind the dish, the Reds are not looking for a starting catcher. However, Barnhart, a two-time Gold Glove Award-winner, may be looking for an opportunity to start and is gaining interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Former Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart drawing interest from the Pirates.
According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Buccos have expressed interest in signing the former Cincinnati Reds catcher. The Pirates currently have just one catcher, Endy Rodriguez, on the 40-man roster.
Barnhart would actually be a nice fit with Pirates. Pittsburgh, much like Cincinnati, is in the middle of a rebuild and in nee of veteran leadership behind the dish until 2021 No. 1 overall pick Henry Davis is ready for The Show.
Barnhart spent nearly all of his professional career within the Cincinnati Reds organization until last season when the 31-year-old was traded to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for a minor league infield prospect.
The Reds had seen enough from Stephenson during his rookie campaign in 2021 and made the decision to part ways with Barnhart rather than pay him the $7.5M team-option. Now a free agent, Barnhart is searching out an opportunity to be a starter once more, and Pittsburgh may provide that chance.
With the MLB Winter Meetings in full swing, it wouldn't be surprising to see Tucker Barnhart land a deal before the week is up. While not a very strong hitter, Barnhart's defense and ability to work with the pitching staff is always in demand.