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Dodgers and Catcher Austin Barnes Avoid Arbitration

Barnes will be returning to his role as the backup catcher next season

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 03: Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats in the eighth inning of the MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on April 03, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 5-3. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

The Dodgers and catcher Austin Barnes have agreed to a 1-year deal worth $1.1 million, according to Robert Murray. The deal is fully guaranteed.

It is the first season Barnes was arbitration-eligible; he was projected to receive $1.3 million. The Dodgers hold team control over Barnes until the 2023 season.

He will likely spend the season as the Dodgers’ backup catcher to Will Smith. While he isn’t going to hit a ton, Barnes is an above-average defender who has some added versatility with his ability to play second base.

He is a more than capable backup catcher and at only $1.1 million, the cost won’t affect their plans of pursuing a star player. However, this could spell the official end of Russell Martin’s time with Los Angeles.

Last season, Barnes hit .203/.292/.340 with a 68 wRC+ and 0.7 wins above replacement. He is a career .229/.343/.362 hitter with a 94 wRC+ and is widely considered one of the better pitch framers in baseball.

Along with Austin, the Dodgers also agreed on a 1-year contract to avoid arbitration with left handed reliever Scott Alexander on Sunday.

Written by Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!

6 Comments

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  1. Well let’s put it this way…Barnes is beyond a cut above Rocky Gale as far as offense goes for sure. But we can now get the idea of what this off season just may be like considering Barnes and Alexander have be re-signed. I still cannot see Dodgers do much in the way of any big signing other than being ‘linked’ to someone.

  2. Same story; just a different year. Dodgers will do nothing as far as signing any Big Time Players; and Roberts will lead them to 8th Divisional Championship but he will get out maneuvered and out coached in playoffs and Dodger Fans are supposed to accept their futile ways again going into 2021. Make some SIGNIFICANT changes soon

  3. Not you guys are sure cynical. Is backup catcher important? Can you think of a better backup than a young, athletic, team controlled guy like barnes? And for 1.1 ?

    Now they are ready to start reaching higher. Sure they won’t do everything the writers say but they will have an improved team from last yr.
    BTW it won’t be long before Seager, Bellinger, Buehler etc will have to get paid. If they spend 30 mill per yr for Cole for 6 yrs they’ll have to add 20 mill for Belli, 15 for Seager, 25 mill for Buehler. 90 mill for just 4 players! Hmm, maybe just not sign Cole and trade for a good pitcher instead.

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