AP source: Cubs, C Tucker Barnhart agree to $6.5M contract

The Chicago Cubs bolstered their defense again on Thursday, agreeing to a $6.5 million contract with Gold Glove-winning catcher Tucker Barnhart.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal to the AP on condition of anonymity because it was pending a successful physical.

Barnhart’s deal includes a $3.25 million salary for 2023 and a $3.25 million player option for 2024. The agreement includes escalators and performance bonuses that could make it worth $9.5 million over two seasons.

Barnhart, who turns 32 on Jan. 7, is expected to back up Yan Gomes. Willson Contreras was the starting catcher for Chicago last season, but he signed an $87.5 million, five-year contract with St. Louis during free agency.

Barnhart returns to the NL Central after struggling in his only season with Detroit. He spent his first eight seasons with Cincinnati, winning Gold Gloves in 2017 and 2020.

The addition of Barnhart comes one day after the Cubs finalized a $177 million, seven-year contract with All-Star shortstop Dansby Swanson, who won his first Gold Glove this year. The team also added Gold Glove-winning center fielder Cody Bellinger on a $17.5 million, one-year contract.

Barnhart was selected by Cincinnati in the 10th round of the 2009 amateur draft. He made his big league debut when he appeared in 21 games with the Reds in 2014.