The Chicago Cubs are focusing on filling out the rest of their roster after the signing of free-agent shortstop Dansby Swanson on Saturday and it would appear that the team has turned their attention to adding a veteran catcher to pair with Yan Gomes. While three catchers have been mentioned in reference to the Cubs' search for a platoon partner with Gomes, it would appear that free-agent Tucker Barnhart is getting the most focus.
Despite Barnhart having two Gold Glove awards under his belt from his time with the Cincinnati Reds, the advanced metrics would seems to suggest that the veteran catcher is not a fit for what the Cubs prefer out of the catching position. Though with catchers, metrics don't tell the full story and perhaps the Cubs feel confident in Barnhart's ability to manage a pitching staff.
While Barnhart struggled offensively with the Detroit Tigers last season, it is important that he would likely be the Cubs' catcher when the team is facing a right-handed starting pitcher while Gomes starts when the team is facing a left-handed starting pitcher. For his career, Barnhart has a slash line of .251/.328/.377/.704 against right-handed pitchers with a 86 wRC+.
Justin Turner will not be signing with the Chicago Cubs
After the Chicago Cubs signed Dansby Swanson, we floated the idea of the team looking at former Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner as a potential option for the team at first and third base. The idea was shortlived as Turner signed with the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
Expect resolution on the markets for free-agent outfielder Michael Conforto and free-agent first baseman Trey Mancini this week. The Cubs have been linked heavily to both players over the past week.
FanGraphs praises Chicago Cubs' signing of Dansby Swanson
Ben Clemens had a writeup for FanGraphs of the Chicago Cubs' signing of Dansby Swanson and he was a fan.
"It’s easy to pigeonhole him as a blah hitter who spiked a career year he’ll never repeat heading into free agency. I don’t buy it, though. I think he’s a thumping hitter who will be above average at the plate even if he doesn’t figure something out against breaking balls, but with the chance for more if something clicks and he gets up to even average against them. It’s not like he’s signing for the change in David Ross’ couch or anything, but it’s not the kind of contract that will restrict Chicago’s ability to add other players, even if the team wants to operate on a tight budget. A reasonable deal for a solid player with the chance to be more than that? I like the sound of it."- Ben Clemens, FanGraphs
Here are the ZiPS projections for Swanson over the next six seasons: