Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to contract extension

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Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to contract extension

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Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart throws to pitcher Homer Bailey at home plate after a wild pitch against the Marlins on Friday, July 21, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Giancarlo Stanton scored on the play. David Jablonski/Staff

The Reds and catcher Tucker Barnhart have agreed on a four-year contract extension, the team announced Friday.

Barnhart, 26, would have been eligible for arbitration following the season.

“Tucker has made us proud on the field with his play and off the field with his community involvement,” Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dick Williams said. “He worked his way up through our system, improving every step of the way, and has established himself as an elite defensive catcher and a productive offensive player. Switch hitting catchers who can impact the game defensively are tough to find.”

Barnhart, a native of Brownsburg, Ind., leads Major League catchers in fielding percentage (one error), caught stealings and assists and his 2.9 Defensive WAR leads all National League players. He is hitting .272 with six home runs and 42 RBIs in 113 games this season.

A 10th-round pick of the Reds in the 2009 draft, Barnhart has been the Reds starting catcher since May 2016, when Devin Mesoraco suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

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