Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Interest in Catcher Tucker Barnhart

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates need to add a veteran catcher if they do not plan on promoting a prospect.  Sounds like they have their eyes on one veteran.

As of right now, the Pittsburgh Pirates do not have a starting catching for the 2023 season.  They also do not have a backup either.  So what is the plan behind the dish?  We know the team is not going to promote Endy Rodriguez or Henry Davis.  So who are they considering signing?

According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the team is interested in bringing a former Cinncinatti Red backstop.  Mackey is reporting that the Bucs have shown interest in Tucker Barnhart.  Mackey tweeted the information this morning:

This is interesting as this would represent a clear-cut upgrade over the team’s catching situation in 2022.  Barnhart is a proven defender and has potential with the bat.  Barnhart is a lefty hitter which is always a perk at PNC Park.  Maybe bringing him back to the National League Central will get him back on track at the plate.  He had a .557 OPS with the Detroit Tigers in 2022, which is well below his career mark of .680.  If he can get back closer to that number and bring that Gold Glove Caliber defense he obviously would be a great pickup.

The other part that is interesting about this rumor is regarding Roberto Perez.  It was reported early on that the team was open to bringing Perez back for 2023.  The caveat of course was whether or not Perez physically would be able to perform at a productive level after his injury.  This may suggest that the Bucs are passing on Perez.

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Barnhart would be an upgrade over Perez in terms of the player.  He is younger than Perez.  Perez is heading into his age 34 season while Perez is turning just 32. It could also suggest that Perez medically is not ready to go and the Bucs are moving in a different direction.  Regardless, it is good to see them active in the catching market.