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Dodgers Catching Depth: Will Smith, Austin Barnes, and Why Don’t They Just Sign Russell Martin?



The Los Angeles Dodgers have bountiful depth everywhere around the diamond.

The club lost its expected number three starting pitcher when offseason acquisition David Price opted out of the 2020 season amid COVID concerns. Thankfully they had three other capable arms ready to plug in and help LA not miss a beat.

If there are injuries or any lost time in the infield or outfield, there are players ready to step in and provide productive at-bats.

However, one area of weakness might be behind the dish. Beyond the expected tandem of Will Smith and Austin Barnes, the Dodgers are looking a bit left out to dry at catcher. Smith — a second-year backstop who tapered off in the second half of his rookie season — and Barnes — a now somewhat grizzled veteran still chasing production now three years gone — are fine options, but what if injuries or something worse befalls either of the duo?

Here we get to know some of the younger, not quite ready for primetime players in the organization and how one old name is the one that makes the most sense.

WATCH

What do you think? Will Rocky Gale be enough as a glove-first backstop in an emergency? Do you start the clock on unproven top prospect Keibert Ruiz or teenager Diego Cartaya? Or do you bring in the veteran presence of Russell Martin?

NEXT: Max Muncy Doesn’t Quite Like the New Look Dodger Stadium Yet

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Gale is not any type of offensive threat. I would resign Martin. Justin Turner has let his feelings be known on Martin. Russel Martin is a great veteran and a terrific clubhouse leader. I think he would be a great boost to the Dodger clubhouse that can use a little more veteran leadership. Plus Martin has been on a championship team and that always helps.
    Dodger upper management has shown in the past it values veteran leadership, signing Martin should be a no-brainer. I believe they will sign him and are simply waiting to see how many slots they have left of the 60. I do believe that Smith and Barnes will make a great duo. We can all hope that Matt Barnes has figured out his stroke and Smith gets his minor league mojo back and hits as he should.

  2. I agree taking a shot with Martin could be a wise move. The problem would be playing time if Smith and Barnes do well. It could be a good problem to have with the DH being used.

  3. I like Russell Martin, always have, but Clint you keep harping on “why don’t the Dodgers sign him?” Since Martin is also not much of a hitter he doesn’t make sense as a DH. Since Smith and Austin Barnes are really good defensive catchers there is no need for Martin. Sure if a catcher gets hurt that would open a possible spot for him but Rocky Game is younger and probably just as good or better defensively. Also, it appears teams are using some of their 60 man spots to give top prospects a place to play and develop. Martin makes better sense as an injury replacement or a coach.

  4. There should be no hesitation in signing Russell. He has proven time and again he can play. He’s a good catcher, he’s hit clutch hits, he has power now and then and has a good arm. He also can play other positions if need be. Barns has been quite iffy with the bat, you don’t know what he’s going to do with the bat( not consistent). Will is still fresh, we need to sit back and see what he might develop into.

  5. Yes. Yes. Yes! Definitely Russell Martin ??.
    Russell is a great guy and an awesome catcher.
    Plus he also makes a great mentor for the up and commers.

  6. Yes. Yes. Yes! Definitely Russell Martin ??.
    Russell is a great guy and an awesome catcher.
    Plus he also makes a great mentor for the up and commers.

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