The Dodgers are set up for years to come behind the plate, After signing Austin Barnes to a 2-year deal to avoid arbitration, Los Angeles should have the position locked down for at least the next 5 years.
Last season, Will Smith proved that he can be the guy moving forward for the Dodgers. He came out swinging and slashed .289/.401/.579 with 17 extra-base hits in 37 games while hitting the ball incredibly hard.
But Austin Barnes was no slouch either. He put up his best offensive season since 2017 and got more chances in the postseason than most expected. That played out more defensively as Barnes’ presence calmed pitchers and led them to success more often than not. So what does the starting role look like moving forward?
During a call with Dodgers media on Monday, Doc talked about his current catching situation. He was asked how it was possible that Barnes got so many starts in the postseason over the last few years despite being a backup catcher. But for Dave, Barnes isn’t a backup at all.
Dave Roberts notes that he doesn't see Austin Barnes as a "backup catcher" He and Will Smith are more "1 and 1a" in a timeshare at the position. #Dodgers
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) February 22, 2021
Barnes started a few games for the Dodgers during the 2020 postseason run, and a lot of those starts came in the World Series. That was in part due to wanting to get Will Smith off of his feet while also keeping his bat in the lineup as a DH.
All of this was a part of a broader conversation Dave led about competition in Spring Training. For Doc, competition at the position level is key to pushing guys to the next level and getting the most out of them that they can. The Dodgers are in for a few key battles, mostly in the rotation and on the bench.
But if they are able to get back to the 2017 Austin Barnes form, the Dodgers will have a lethal duo behind the plate in 2020. So much so that it could force them to find a new position for Smith if Barnes kept hitting.
Only time will tell, but it is very good to be the Los Angeles Dodgers right now.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, interviews, live streams, and more!