Cubs sign catcher Tucker Barnhart

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The Cubs announced Thursday they've signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a two-year contract.

To make room for Barnhart on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated catcher P.J. Higgins for assignment. 

Catcher was among the Cubs’ question marks this offseason after they let Willson Contreras leave as a free agent. Barnhart adds a veteran presence alongside Yan Gomes.

Barnhart, 32 next month, is a nine-year veteran and two-time Gold Glove winner. He spent his first eight seasons in the NL Central with the Reds and the 2022 season with the Tigers.

While the metrics weren’t as kind to him in 2022, he has a track record as one of the game’s better defensive backstops.

The Cubs have significantly improved their defense this winter, signing Gold Glovers in shortstop Dansby Swanson and outfielder Cody Bellinger.

"To me, you're only as good as your four defenders in the middle," Swanson said Wednesday. "Obviously, pitching is a big part of it, but center field, shortstop, second base and catcher. And I feel like the group that we have is pretty elite in that category.”

RELATED: Why Cubs' defense looks 'pretty special' after Swanson move

Along with Gomes and Barnhart, the Cubs’ catching picture includes former top prospect, Miguel Amaya. The 23-year-old is on the 40-man roster but has dealt with injury setbacks in recent seasons.

Amaya finished 2022 at Double-A Tennessee after returning from Tommy John surgery but suffered a Lisfranc injury in his left foot in September that required surgery.

Higgins hit .229/.310/.383 in 74 games last season, appearing in 38 games at first base, 34 at catcher and four at third base.

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