The Tigers and Reds didn’t wait long to start shaking things up this offseason. The teams are making a deal that will send catcher Tucker Barnhart to Detroit in exchange for minor league third baseman Nick Quintana. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman was the first to report news of the deal, which was quickly confirmed by the teams:
We’ve got our backstop!— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) November 3, 2021
Today we acquired two-time Gold Glove winning C Tucker Barnhart from Cincinnati in exchange for Minor League INF Nick Quintana. pic.twitter.com/urZ0cMODq0
The Tigers will pick up Barnhart’s $7.5 million option for 2022, according to Heyman.
Barnhart, 30, has long been considered one of the best defensive catchers in baseball and is a two-time Gold Glove winner, most recently in 2020. He was not regarded highly from a metrics standpoint this season though, posting zero defensive runs saved.
The left-handed hitting Barnhart is a .248/.324/.371 career hitter and posted a .247/.317/.368 slash line with seven homers in 116 games this season. He’ll likely form a catching platoon in Detroit with right-handed hitter Eric Haase, who broke out to the tune of a .231/.286/.459 slash line with 22 homers and 61 RBI in 2021.
Quintana, a second-round pick in 2019, struggled at the Low-A level this season, hitting .196/.329/.346 with nine homers and 47 RBIs over 82 games at Lakeland.
The Reds will likely give more playing time next season to 2015 first-rounder Tyler Stephenson, who impressed as a rookie in 2021. Stephenson slashed .286/.366/.431 with 10 homers in 132 games. Stephenson registered three defensive runs saved in 78 games behind the plate and also played 23 games at first base. Mark Kolozsvary, who won a silver medal with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics and received a brief call-up to the big leagues in September, seems to be the most logical option to take over as Cincinnati’s backup catcher.