Chicago Cubs pitchers love working with Tucker Barnhart

Chicago Cubs Photo Day
Chicago Cubs Photo Day / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The catching position was a primary focus for the Chicago Cubs this past offseason as Willson Contreras departed the team while signing a five-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cubs were determined to go with a different philosophy at the position.

While there was no doubt that Contreras is one of the best offensive catchers in all of Major League Baseball, the Cubs, as an organization, do not value offense at the catching position. That would be the reason why their search for a replacement for Contreras led the Cubs to Tucker Barnhart.

The Cubs targeted Barnhart because of his ability to work with a pitching staff and the veteran catcher wasted little time living up to his reputation as confirmed by manager David Ross when speaking with reporters including Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times.

"“The stuff that you see from afar has just stood out even more seeing him on a daily basis,” manager David Ross said. “His passion for his craft, the work ethic, the investment in the pitchers on and off the field, those are the things that have really stood out to me.” "

David Ross via Chicago Sun-Times

From a pitching perspective, Cubs' pitchers had more success last season while working with Yan Gomes as their catcher last season as opposed to Contreras and the belief is because Gomes' strategy for calling games was more aligned with what Ross and the team's front office was seeking.

Barnhart was in constant communication with Gomes this offseason and that was evident when pitchers had their first bullpen season with the team's new catcher. Hayden Wesneski told reporters this past weekend how impressed he was with Barnhart after their first bullpen session together.

"“It blew me away to think that the first bullpen I threw in spring, he already knew all about me,” Wesneski said, “before even meeting the guy.”"

Hayden Wesneski via Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman tosses gem in WBC. dark. Next

Defense and run prevention has been the buzzphrases for the Cubs during Spring Training and Barnhart likely will help the team excel in both categories. Barnhart may not have the offensive skill that Contreras has but appears to be a much better fit for the team in regard to managing the pitching staff.