Cincinnati (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds traded veteran gold glove catcher Tucker Barnhart to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday in exchange for infield prospect Nick Quintana.
Barnhart, a 31-year-old left-handed hitter and reliable backstop, leaves Cincinnati after eight years. Over the past six seasons, he has led the Reds behind the plate and held the innings, winning the NL Gold Gloves in 2017 and 2020.
“Coming into this season, we knew the catcher was a priority position for us,” said Tigers general manager Al Avila. “During our strategy meetings with my front office staff in Lakeland over the past few weeks, Tucker’s name came up several times as an attractive alternative to our ballclub who, being a real plus defender, knows the pitching staff. How to lead and is a solid contributor from the batsman’s box.”
The rise of Reds rookie Tyler Stephenson, who spent time behind the plate last season, made 30-year-old Barnhart – and his contract – expendable. Barnhart has a $7.5 million option for 2022 with a $500,000 buyout.
Barnhart hit .247 in 2021 with seven homers and 48 RBIs. Stephenson had a breakout season, .286 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs.
In return, the Reds get 24-year-old Quintana, who was the Tigers’ second-rounder in the 2019 amateur draft. In 2021, he hit .196 with nine homers for the Tigers Low-A Affiliate in Lakeland, Florida.
Reds general manager Nick Kroll said it was a difficult decision to trade Barnhart, one of the team’s most popular players.
“But moving into 2022, we must align our payroll with our resources and continue to focus on finding and developing young talent from within our system,” he said.
Bernhardt said it was going to leave the organization that drafted him but he looks forward to playing in Detroit.
“It’s an exciting time for a team that has made such a big difference over the years,” he said. “AJ (Hinch) is one of the best managers in all of baseball, and I look forward to working with him, the coaching staff and other teammates to bring the playoffs and World Series championship back to the Motor City.”
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports