Arizona adds a defense-first catcher to their Spring Training group. Barnhart won a pair of Gold Gloves during his eight-year run with the Reds. Statcast has still graded him as a slightly above-average pitch framer over the past two seasons, but those numbers are down from his 2019-21 peak. It’s a similar story from a throwing perspective. Barnhart threw out a middling seven of 37 basestealers in 312 2/3 innings with the Cubs.
With nearly a decade of MLB experience, the 32-year-old has a strong reputation for his work with a pitching staff. That has always been his selling point. Barnhart has never provided league average production at the dish. His offensive numbers have been particularly poor over the past two years. In 431 plate appearances since the start of 2022, the left-handed hitter owns a .215/.286/.264 line.
Last winter, the Cubs signed Barnhart to a two-year, $6.5MM guarantee. He appeared in only 47 games before being released. Chicago turned to 24-year-old Miguel Amaya to pair with veteran Yan Gomes in August. Barnhart caught on with the Dodgers on a non-roster deal for the stretch run. He appeared in seven Triple-A games and never received a big league call.
Chicago is still responsible for Barnhart’s $3.25MM salary for the 2024 season. If he cracks Arizona’s roster, the Snakes would only owe him the prorated portion of the $740K league minimum for whatever time he spends in the majors. He’d be an inexpensive veteran option to back up Gabriel Moreno, who has clearly established himself as the organization’s #1 catcher.
Aside from Moreno, José Herrera stands as the only catcher on the 40-man roster. Herrera is a .198/.272/.231 hitter in 88 MLB games over the past two seasons. That gives Barnhart a solid chance to make the club out of camp. Former Rays and Red Sox prospect Ronaldo Hernández will also be in Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.