The Cubs Are Very Happy About Their New Catching Tandem

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The Cubs Are Very Happy About Their New Catching Tandem

Chicago Cubs

There’s basically no way to share this stuff without it feeling like a referendum on the previous starting catcher. That isn’t my intention. But the reality is that when the Cubs talk about their new catching duo of Tucker Barnhart and Yan Gomes, they talk about it in a fundamentally different way than they ever talked about Willson Contreras. It’s clear that they got the guys they wanted – for the type of setup they want – and they’re not shy about heaping praise on Barnhart and Gomes in a very specific way.

We already know how much the Cubs think of Yan Gomes and his ability to work with pitchers, but check out some of the things they are saying about Tucker Barnhart (Marquee):

  • David Ross: “I don’t know anybody that hit the ground running as fast as him that I’ve ever managed. When he signed with us, he’s watching video of all the pitchers and calling, wanting to be on the pitching group text. He’s all in on that pitching group and it’s a really comforting feeling for me.”
  • Tommy Hottovy: “The communication, the way [Barnhart and Gomes] go about their business, the prep they do — even before bullpens. It’s impressive. And it’s not a fake thing. They do it because they know it’s gonna help the pitchers be the best version of themselves. As a coach, that is an insane thing to be able to have in your organization with guys that are committed to getting the best out of the pitchers no matter what.”
  • Drew Smyly: “Tucker’s great. He’s very communicative. He comes up to every pitcher and wants to talk about what you throw, how you want to set guys up. Having him and Yan together is going to be incredible this season. They’re both so invested to the defensive side of catching and calling games and getting to know their pitchers. [Barnhart] is so good receiving, too. Once you get with him a couple times, this is just going to be like second nature. He’s reading my mind and vice versa. Him and Yan together is just a great combo.”

You can see it in there. A singular focus for the catcher on making sure his pitchers are as successful as possible. An extension of the pitching staff AND the coaching staff. That’s what the Cubs want out of their catchers, and for all that Willson Contreras did so well at the plate, that wasn’t quite his style.

We’ll see if it pays off over the course of the year – our clue will be consistent overperformance by the Cubs’ pitching staff.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.