CINCINNATI -- The Reds did not wait until the offseason to secure catcher Tucker Barnhart for the long term. On Friday, Barnhart was signed to a four-year, $16 million contract with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
"Tucker has made us proud on the field with his play and off the field with his community involvement," Reds general manager Dick Williams said in a news release. "He worked his way up through our system, improving every step of the way, and has established himself as an elite defensive catcher and a productive offensive player. Switch-hitting catchers who can impact the game defensively are tough to find." Barnhart, 26, would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason. The deal covers all three of his arbitration years, and up to two more in which he could have become a free agent. Barnhart was a 10th-round pick in the 2009 Draft. After a slow, steady rise through the organization, he established himself in the Majors when primary catcher Devin Mesoraco was plagued by injuries. Barnhart caught 73 games (67 starts) in 2015, and played 108 games (106 starts) behind the plate last season. Through 113 games this season, the switch-hitter is batting .272/.349/.399 with six home runs and 42 RBIs. This year, Barnhart has excelled with defense and game-calling. He has thrown out 31 of 70 runners attempting to steal (44 percent) -- tops in the National League and second best in the Majors.
Mark Sheldon /

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