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Tucker Barnhart Traded to the Detroit Tigers
Okay, I’ll give you the details first.
Tucker Barnhart has been traded to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for infield prospect Nick Quintana.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Personally, I was really disappointed to see this news. Barnhart has been a solid catcher for Cincinnati, and he’s done far more than what was expected from him. While not spectacular offensively, he’s provided steady production. What he lacks with a bat he more than makes up for with his gold glove caliber defense. Going into the 2021 offseason, many fans wondered if the Reds would pick up Barnhart’s option for the 2022 season. Tyler Stephenson’s solid rookie year only served to heighten the questions surrounding Tucker.
Well, it looks like those questions have been turned into some answers.
Nick Krall had this to say of the trade:
“Trading Tucker was a very difficult decision. Having been drafted and developed by the Reds, our entire organization has a connection to him, and our fans love him. But going into 2022, we must align our payroll to our resources and continue focusing on scouting and developing young talent from within our system. We are grateful for Tucker’s contributions on the field and in the communities throughout Reds Country. He will be missed.”
So, what does this mean for the 2022 Red’s campaign?
Honestly, I think there’s more to take out of Krall’s statement (more on this later) than there is with the Barnhart trade. Tucker’s 2022 option was worth $7.5 million. Not a bad price, but a little high for someone with his offensive production. It hurts me to say it, but trading Barnhart was really the smart decision here. Had the Red’s declined his option, he would have become a free agent. By trading him, they at least get something back in return.
That return is infield prospect Nick Quintana. The 24 year old prospect was selected out of the University of Arizona by the Tigers in the second round of the 2019 draft. While many prospects say that he has the tools to be a regular third baseman, he’s been abysmal in the minors and is still in low-A. I honestly hope I’m proven wrong, but I don’t see Quintana cracking the big league roster anytime soon.
In short, the Reds were unwilling to pay Barnhart $7.5 million, so they picked up a low level prospect rather than getting nothing in return.
Nick Krall’s Statement
Nick Krall’s press statements have been...interesting to put it politely. From my point of view as a fan, he seems to lack a certain finesse in how he words things. This weakness popped up today. In the middle of his statement, he made this interesting comment:
“But going into 2022, we must align our payroll to our resources and continue focusing on scouting and developing young talent from within our system.”
Hmmm….looks an awful lot like the Reds are being cheap again. The implication of his statement is that payroll with Barnhart would be higher than the financial resources available to the team right now.
This is a disappointing way to start the offseason. The Reds are still in a strong spot to compete for the NL Central crown, but they’d need to add more talent first. Starting the offseason by announcing that you’re cutting payroll and focusing on growing young talent looks an awful lot like a white flag to me.
When you combine this obvious surrender with the departures of key staff members, such as Kyle Boddy, the truth starts to become clear.
Be prepared Red’s fans.
Rebuild 2.0 is coming.
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