The Cardinals and catcher Tres Barrera are in agreement on a minor league contract, reports FanSided’s Robert Murray (via Twitter). The Ballengee Group client will receive an invitation to big league camp in Spring Training, where he’ll vie for a backup job to offseason signee Willson Contreras. The Cards announced the signing not long after Murray’s initial report.
Formerly a sixth-round pick by the Nationals, Barrera is a 28-year-old right-handed hitter who’s spent his entire career to date with the same organization. He’s appeared in parts of three big league seasons with Washington, batting a combined .231/.317/.315 in 162 trips to the plate. He spent the bulk of the 2022 season in Triple-A Rochester, where he batted .254/.338/.424 in 206 plate appearances.
Barrera sports a solid 25% caught-stealing rate in his minor league career, though he’s somewhat surprisingly thrown out just nine percent of attempted thieves in the big leagues. That’s come in a small sample, of course, and Baseball Prospectus has generally rated Barrera as solid or better in terms of both pitch framing and blocking balls in the dirt throughout his time in the minors and the big leagues.
The starting gig behind the plate is obviously spoken for in St. Louis after Contreras inked a five-year contract, and as things stand, Andrew Knizner is the presumptive backup. Barrera can team with top catching prospect Ivan Herrera to form a Triple-A catching duo and give the Cards some experienced depth in the upper minors.