“The Cincinnati Reds and catcher Tucker Barnhart have agreed to a four-year extension with a fifth-year option, the team announced Friday morning.
The deal guarantees Barnhart $16 million, according to a source. He’ll receive a $1.75 million signing bonus, and will receive the following salaries throughout the course of the deal:
2018: $4 miliion
2019: $2.5 million
2020: $3.5 million
2021: $3.75 million
2022: Team option for $7.5 million with a buyout of $500,000
Per another source, the deal was front-loaded to give the Reds flexibility to make additions as they move into their contention window.”
“GM Dick Williams on Tucker Barnhart extension: ‘Switch hitting catchers who can impact the game defensively are tough to find.'”
The deal is really a 1-year extension, plus the option year in 2022. The Reds already had control over Barnhart’s contract for three years. The catcher was about to enter his arbitration period, so the contract covers those three seasons plus the first year of Barnhart’s free agency. Option on the second.
The contract covers Barnhart’s age 27-30 seasons, plus the option year of age-31.
From Barnhart’s perspective, the contract provides well earned, guaranteed economic security.
From the Reds perspective, it offers a little bit of salary predictability and the front-loading. But we’re not talking about much money in either of those considerations. The main benefit for the club is locking up a 30-year-old catcher in 2021 and the 2022 option.
Tyler Stephenson just turned 21 and was catching for Low A-Dayton. He’ll be 25 in the final year of Barnhart’s contract.
Devin Mesoraco has a year remaining on his contract. You can expect the Reds to be looking for the opportunity to trade him during next season.