The season literally ended two days ago and players are already on the move. Maybe they're just trying to get some stuff out of the way before a potential lockout, maybe they're being nice to Topps, who knows. But...not only is this initial trade a big one, but it's one that's honestly pretty smart.
Okay, so Tucker Barnhart is one of the best defensive catchers in the bigs, this is a proven fact. The Reds, however, have Tyler Stephenson, and while he had a lot of playing time in 2021, he was feeling like he should be starting a lot of this year, and having Barnhart there was blocking him, especially in the period where Stephenson was playing better than Barnhart. So, Barnhart's a great catcher, but he might not belong in Cincinnati anymore.
The Detroit Tigers have been playing catching roulette ever since Alex Avila left. They've struggled to find a steady, consistent catching option ever since, and have seen either surefires flame out [like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Wilson Ramos and Austin Romine] or prospects fail [like Grayson Greiner, Jake Rogers and John Hicks]. They did get a nice season out of Eric Haase this year, but after a month of great stuff he sort of buckled back under the radar for the rest of it, and he may be better suited as a backup.
So...the Reds have too many great catchers, the Tigers need a steady, reliable catcher. The deal essentially made itself.
Tucker Barnhart fits in with the Tigers more than you'd think. A lot of last year's Tigers team succeeded on veteran presence, like Jonathan Schoop and Robbie Grossman, and Barnhart is very similar to those two. He's also not a very expensive piece, and they'll get a lot of bang for their buck out of Barnhart. And he's a good addition to a team that's working on becoming a defensive threat again. Meanwhile, the Reds can let Stephenson be the starting catcher, and have less of a crowded bench [so Aquino can actually get some damned playing time].
It's a great start to the offseason. A big piece goes to a worthy candidate. I doubt the subsequent deals are all gonna make this much sense, though.