The Detroit Tigers have acquired catcher Tucker Barnhart in exchange for infielder Nick Quintana.
Planning to non-tender him, the Reds instead sent Barnhart to the American League for a prospect. The Tigers are willing to pay Barnhart $7.5 million, unlike the Reds, who seem to be cutting costs. In return, they get Quintana. He was taken in the second round of the 2019 draft by Detroit after dominating at the University of Arizona. However, since turning pro, Quintana has been a massive disappointment. His offense has gone from his strength to a weakness. He will be a reclamation project for Cincinnati.
Quintana, 24, hit nine home runs with four stolen bases, a .317 OBP, and a .645 OPS in 375 Plate Appearances across three levels, mainly Single-A Lakeland. In his minor league career, Quintana has hit 11 bombs with eight steals, a .299 OBP, and a .607 OPS in 635 Plate Appearances.
While Eric Haase’s 22 home runs was a pleasant surprise from behind the plate, Barnhart is a welcome addition to the Tigers, who make the trade to jump what would have been Barnhart’s free agent market. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Barnhart has been well below average offensively all throughout his career. His OPS+ has been exactly 75 in each of the past two seasons. He is a good pitch framer and while his 7.5 BB% in 2021 was not good, it snapped a three year streak of that being over 10%. If he can get back to the double-digit walk rate, while helping out the young Tigers’ pitching staff, then Barnhart will be an effective platoon option.
Barnhart, 30, hit seven home runs with a .317 OBP and a .685 OPS in 388 Plate Appearances for the Reds last season. In his MLB career, all for Cincinnati, Barnhart has hit 51 home runs with a .324 OBP and a .696 OPS in 2561 Plate Appearances.