Cubs Rumors: 3 catchers who could replace Willson Contreras

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Tucker Barnhart / Chicago Cubs
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Cubs Rumors: 3 catchers to replace Willson Contreras - #2: Tucker Barnhart

No one seems quite sure why everything went off the rails for the Detroit Tigers in 2022 - but almost every major addition the former front office regime made in the offseason underperformed as the team crawled to a 66-96 finish in the AL Central.

Veteran catcher Tucker Barnhart was no exception to that rule. The soon-to-be 32-year-old catcher, who has never been what you'd call an offensive juggernaut, managed just a 64 OPS+ in 94 games, slashing .221/.287/.267 on the year. A two-time Gold Glove winner, it's not hard to envision a scenario where the Cubs pair Barnhart with Yan Gomes in 2023 in hopes that Miguel Amaya finally stays healthy and is ready to make his big league debut in 2024.

Barnhart represents the most cost-effective option of these three backstops we're looking at given his struggles with Detroit last year. He's known to be looking for a starting role, but I think there's a path forward in Chicago where Gomes turns 36 next July and isn't an everyday catcher at this point.

If the Cubs are looking to prioritize game-calling and receiving over offense - and want to allocate their financial resources in other areas, a buy-low deal with Barnhart could check a box and give the team two experienced receivers in the mix come 2023.