The Tigers are interested in working out a contract extension with recently-acquired catcher Tucker Barnhart, reports Robert Murray of FanSided. While no deal is believed to be close, Murray relays that Detroit has at least met with the backstop’s representatives at the Ballengee Group.
Barnhart hasn’t yet been in the organization for two weeks, but the front office no doubt values his on-field production and ability to work with a young pitching staff. The Tigers struck to acquire Barnhart from the Reds just hours into the offseason, clearly identifying him as a prime trade target. He’ll play next season on a $7.75MM salary after Detroit exercised a club option, but he’s currently on track to hit free agency after the 2022 campaign.
The lefty-hitting Barnhart offers stable production on both sides of the ball. He’s coming off a .247/.317/.368 showing in 388 plate appearances with Cincinnati, numbers that align with his career work at the dish. That’s a bit below the league average offensive output at the position, but Barnhart makes up for that with strong defense. Statcast has rated him as an above-average pitch framer three years running after he struggled in that facet of the game early in his career. He’s also been average or better at throwing out attempted base-stealers, and the two-time Gold Glove award winner is generally well-regarded for the non-quantifiable aspects (handling a pitching staff, game calling, etc.) of the position.
Barnhart turns 31 years old in January, so any extension that pushes the Tigers’ window of control beyond next season would begin with his age-32 campaign. That’s a year younger than Travis d’Arnaud, who signed a two-year, $16MM extension (with a 2024 club option) with the Braves in August. Barnhart and d’Arnaud are coming off fairly similar 2021 showings, but the latter flashed far more offensive potential by hitting .321/.386/.533 in 2020.
That’s also true to a lesser extent of Jason Castro, who signed for one year and $6.85MM with the Angels over the 2019-20 offseason. That came on the heels of a fine .232/.332/.435 showing, but Castro was also one year older at the time than Barnhart will be in 2023. Speculatively speaking, a two-year deal around that AAV — which would guarantee Barnhart $13.7MM between 2023-24 — could make for a mutually agreeable framework.
Whether the parties will line up remains to be seen, but it seems there’s at least some interest on both sides in getting a longer term deal done. Either way, Barnhart will head into 2022 as the Tigers’ regular backstop, with Grayson Greiner and Eric Haase on hand as the likeliest backup options.
Jake Rodgers rehab must not be going well and/or Tigers are souring on Dillion Dingler becoming their catcher of the future.
Catching depth is a good thing that can be valuable in the trade market. Barnhart is excellent. If the Tigers make a major upgrade at shortstop as rumored, they will be much-improved up-the-middle.
i have to agree with cey on this catchers like posey or molina only come once a generation c is a very demanding position physically. let’s be honest other than the rarities in this game most players just make cutoffs to qualify for stats, so having depth is a good thing. also giving barnhart a 4~5 year deal wouldn’t kill them if he calls a good game and a good field general and the staff responds to him and trust him it’s worth it. c is the hardest pos to fill because of all that comes with the job outside of the bb card stats, i don’t really follow the al but if what i read about him he is a solid d minded c that also can be the player manger. when he can’t play everyday he can slide into that backup role and mentor the kid
Anyone named Dillon Dingler needs as much announcer attention and screen time on TV as possible.
I would think extending Barnhart through the 2024 season wouldn’t hurt Dingler or Rogers much. Even if both are ready by 2023 or Haase really excels even more, one of them or Barnhart /Haase could be nice trade pieces. At least they’re set through 2023 with Barnhart and Haase.
I think signing him to a 3 year extension makes Dingler a 2025 starter and Rogers becomes the platoon guy until 2025. You need catchers. Haas is a guy who might be okay for 2 years but he’s not the answer. I am in favor of an extension.
Narvaez is my favorite catcher in baseball.
Barnhart is my second favorite catcher.
No I’m betting they’re trying to lock him up for 2-3 years plus option for 7-8 million per just to have a solid catcher. If others perform they can flip him and eat a little salary if necessary
Please tell me that’s not someone’s name!
Makes sense for the Tigers. Rogers had TJ surgery this year and while position players typically get back quicker than pitchers, he will be lost a good part of next year. Haase was a streaky hitter and just an average defensive catcher. Dillon Dingler is probably the future but his finger injury probably sets him back a bit. Plus Haase did learn to play OF and probably could learn 1B if needed.
The question is how long is the extension? Have to think at 31, they probably want to add a year with possible option year. That would cover them through the next 2-3 years pretty well.
Greiner is not likely to be the back up this year, Haase will be, barring injury. Haase has no options left, Greiner has one. Likely keep Greiner for this year as injury protection in AAA.
Cabby is gone by 2024 so Haas becomes a DH/LF/ emergency catcher. Dingler might be here by 2024.
Pitch framing is about as valuable to a team as picture framing. Even the worst upms make the call where the ball crosses the swing field, not where it finishes.
Why do I get the feeling the Yankees blew it not trying to get Barnhart. A nice lefty bat and a solid catcher to replace Sanchez
In Stearns we Trust
because they are the Yankees and think their players are above God
Chipper Jones' illegitimate kid
I think that’s just the fans. The Yankees are typically very aware of the value of their own players.
In Stearns we Trust
is that why Sanchez and Gardner still had jobs last season?
Chipper's Illegitimate Kid Missed Fever Pitch Guy's WAR Chant
Get it done. Make it happen.
Replacing Sanchez implies that either someone else wants him (they don’t) and they trade him or the Yankees non-tender him (they won’t) and let him walk
Have the same feeling. Lefty bat and 2 gold gloves. Would have been a great fit for Yanks.
Yea I’ve always been very skeptical of the whole pitch framing thing and whether or not such an effect, if it even exists, can be statistically measured with any accuracy.
You are right.
Clearly you are more knowledgeable than all the front offices and statisticians who talk about it constantly.
…. yes, which is puzzling, as they’re rarely ignorant, superstitious, misguided or generally incompetent.
You are a 100% correct! Lmao…Nice Burrnnnnn
Eric Haase would be a perfect fit with the Brewers to platoon with Narvaes.
Haase is pretty versatile as he can catch, OF, DH, and probably play 1B. Need to give him another year to see if his power numbers continue to increase.
Eric Haase would be a perfect fit with the Tigers to platoon with Barnhart! Hey! He already is!
Why would they send Haase anywhere?
Ride it out with the hometown kid and see what you have a year later.
I’m a Haase fan. I think he’ll have a healthy battle with Barnhart for playing time. I really don’t see Haase going anywhere. Even if they play Barnhart more than Haase at Catcher, I see him being a valuable utility man, and by that I mean substitute outfielder, 1B, DH and late inning pinch hitter. I see him as part of a championship Tigers team.
IMO an extension of any good defensive C that can hit over .225 is a great idea. Dingler is probably 2 years away. Rogers out until next year. Hasse is a great candidate to be the next Wockenfuss or Duke Sims. LF-1B-C
You had me at Wockenfuss.
They are so used to bad players that they want to extend or long-term the mediocre ones.
For Love of the Game
Not every team can afford a $300 million payroll. Sorry if the Tigers don’t meet your standards. And too bad your team can only muster one World championship in 34 years despite all that payroll. THAT is mediocrity or worse!
I have a theory why teams with big payrolls don’t meet expectations…..
They usually have a big payroll because their farm system isn’t good. I feel that when there isn’t someone (a triple-A prospect) nipping at your heels, trying to take your job, players get complacent and don’t do what they are supposed to do day-in, and day-out, to maintain and improve their skills.
If you don’t believe that there is complacency in baseball, why is it when a free agent is up for a contract, they suddenly put up great stats?
I think it’s no longer a theory but a well-substantiated fact. Dynamic competition is the lifeblood of every facet of a productive society and sedentary complacency is it’s disease.
The Tigers have had some big payrolls in the past. They just choose not to now. The owners have enjoyed lining their pockets for a few years while they ‘rebuild’.
The Tigers haven’t won a WS in 37 years. Is that acceptable for a non-200 million payroll?
hes not worth an extension