Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart gets $16M, 4-year contract

St. Louis Cardinals' Jose Martinez (58) scores on an RBI double by Yadier Molina against Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart, left, during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in Cincinnati. The Cardinals won 8-5. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (AP) Catcher Tucker Barnhart and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a $16 million, four-year contract that covers his salary arbitration years and the first season after he would have been eligible for free agency.

He receives a $1.75 million signing bonus and salaries of $4 million next year, $2.5 million in 2019, $3.5 million in 2020 and $3.75 million in 2021. As part of the deal announced Friday, Cincinnati has a $7.5 million option for 2022 with a $500,000 buyout.

Barnhart is making $575,000 and would have been eligible for salary arbitration in the offseason for the first time. He entered Friday batting .272 with six homers and 42 RBIs. He has only one error and leads major league catchers in fielding percentage.

Barnhart became the primary catcher when Devin Mesoraco repeatedly got hurt. Mesoraco has been limited to 95 games the last three seasons and is currently sidelined with a broken left foot. He makes $13 million next season, the last of a $28 million, four-year deal.

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