The Detroit Tigers announced the day after the World Series ended that they have traded for catcher Tucker Barnhart
The Detroit Tigers announced via social media on Wednesday that they have made a trade with the Cincinnati Reds for catcher Tucker Barnhart in exchange for third-base prospect Nick Quintana. Barnhart, who will be entering his age-31 season, has spent his entire eight-year career with the Reds and will be entering the final year of his contract, for which the team has a $7.5 million option.
The reaction to the news was almost universally positive. Almost.
But seriously, the move by those who follow the organization has been widely praised. Nick Quintana has fallen out of favor recently and has yet to get out of High-A as a now-24-year-old in the Detroit Tigers system. Across 82 games with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Quintana hit .196/.329/.346 with 9 home runs (it really should be 10, but that’s a different story).
In Barnhart, the club gets a veteran backstop with solid receiving skills and defensive ability–much of what Jake Rogers brought behind the dish. Additionally, Barnhart ranked 7th in the MLB among catchers in his framing ability, according to Statcast.
Reaction videos have become trendy on social media recently, but Twitter often offers a reaction in text form that can offer entertainment and fun as well. Let’s do some good old fashioned investigative work to see our favorite reactions, and react to those reactions, in response to the news:
Co-site expert Rogelio Castillo offers some initial analysis following the deal and he’s right. The Barnhart acquisition does give those old days vibes–in part because of the pieces involved, but also just because the Detroit Tigers are getting back to those old times of actually leveraging their minor league talent for current major league help.
Best I can tell in going through the lengthy transaction histories by the year, it’s the first MLB-for-prospect deal that the Detroit Tigers have done since the club traded for outfielder Mikie Mahtook, who was with the Rays, in exchange for a player to be named later in January 2017 (that player ended up being relief prospect, Drew Smith).
How can one not appreciate Tony’s excited giggle and clap? In past years, this is likely a complimentary and small acquisition. But today, given the unexpected nature of the move and the thin catching market anyway, Avila gets a sitting “O” from Mr. Dombrowski. The Detroit Tigers are clear buyers this offseason.
Our friends over at SoDo Mojo (the Mariners’ FanSided site) also loved the move. In some ways, the Reds’ hands were a bit tied. Many believed that the Reds were destined to decline Barnhart’s option for 2022, which had a $500,000 buyout according to Spotrac.
The Detroit Tigers leveraged that fact and were able to get Barnhart at a discount.
But how about a reaction from the GM himself?
This quote gives slight pause, but I believe it speaks more to the thinness of the open market at the catching position and not so much about how they intend to approach the rest of the offseason. A high priority suggests that the Detroit Tigers are high on Barnhart and Avila was also public about Barnhart’s defensive abilities as well.
The move signals the start to an offseason for the Detroit Tigers that will likely contain at least two more acquisitions: shortstop and starting pitcher.