According to our own Robert Murray, the Detroit Tigers are exploring an extension for the recently-acquired Tucker Barnhart
Fansided’s MLB insider Robert Murray reported in his Around the Horn piece that the Detroit Tigers are exploring an extension with catcher Tucker Barnhart.
Barnhart, who was acquired just a short time ago from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for third base prospect Nick Quintana, is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2022 season after the Tigers picked up his $7.5 million option for the coming season.
Murray states that no deal is close and suggests that an extension for Barnhart could be a nice ploy to pluck some free-agent pitching. Of course, a lack of an extension for Barnhart did not detour Eduardo Rodriguez, who the Tigers acquired on Monday as a free agent.
The news comes as a mild surprise for the Detroit Tigers, who will likely have two catchers ready for the big leagues in 2023. Jake Rogers recently underwent Tommy John Surgery; meanwhile, Dillon Dingler reached Double-A in 2021 and could be ready for Detroit as early as 2023 himself.
Barnhart will be entering his age-31 season in 2022. The two-time Gold Glove Award winner will likely command similar money to his current salary on the open market, in terms of average annual value. Contract length will be interesting considering his age. Perhaps the club could do something similar to what they did with Jonathan Schoop, who recently signed a two-year contract extension worth $15 million as a 30-year-old.
The club currently has five catchers on their 40-man roster: Tucker Barnhart, Dustin Garneau, Grayson Greiner, Eric Haase, and Jake Rogers (who won’t ultimately count for a spot due to his injury).
Even after the Eduardo Rodriguez acquisition, Tucker Barnhart is the third-highest paid player on the roster according to Spotrac, trailing only Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera, and would join Cabrera and Jonathan Schoop as the only current payroll commitments beyond 2022. Of course, that all could change with an offseason still undone.