Option 1: The Mariners could try and sign Tucker Barnhart
There are other club options like Buster Posey, Mike Zunino, or Christian Vazquez, but I don’t see their options getting declined by the team. With Barnhart and the emergence of Tyler Stephenson (.286/.366/.431 in 350 AB, and a 1.9 WAR) in Cincinnati, they may actually turn down the team option for Barnhart.
Barnhart had a fair season for the Reds, with a slash line of .247/.317/.368 in 348 ABs. He’s a solid defender as well with two Gold Gloves under his belt, which he won in 2020 and 2017. his team option sits between $7.5-$8.5 million, depending upon unknown escalators. They’re likely to turn that down, leaving him open to potentially joining the Mariners.
Barnhart could be a great option for platoon/splitting time. “Hey, they’re both lefties though!” Yes, you’re right, Barnhart and Raleigh are both lefties. As Stephen A. Smith would say, HOWEVA, Barnhart hits RHP and LHP equally well. Against RHP he was .246/.322/.365 and against LHP he was .255/.288/.382, albeit in just 59 PA. Raleigh actually hit just .168 against RHP and .219 against LHP, so you could almost play the hot hand as the season progressed.
Barnhart would be a nice consistent catcher, both on offense and defense. There aren’t a ton of high-level free agent catchers who will be available this season, but I think Barnhart sits at the top of the list and should be someone that the Mariners target.
Of all the catchers out there, who do you think the Mariners should go after? Or, would you prefer they give Tom Murphy and his crazy eyes one more chance?