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Dodgers: How Far Apart are Team and Walker Buehler, Austin Barnes in Arbitration?



On Friday, the Dodgers announced that they had avoided arbitration with four members of their champion roster. However, the club remained apart on terms with right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler and veteran catcher Austin Barnes.

2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger agreed to a $16.1 million contract. 2020 NLCS and World Series MVP Corey Seager agreed to a $13.75 million contract. Julio Urias and Dylan Floro also came to terms on $3.6 million and $975k deals respectively before Friday’s deadline.

In the case of Buehler, MLB insider Mark Feinsand reported that the LA ace filed a $4.15 million request in his first season of arbitration eligibility while the Dodgers countered with a $3.3 million offer. Barnes filed at $2 million while the club offered $1.5 million, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

The team and players still have time to work out deals for the 2021 season with arbitration hearings not starting until February. As I noted on Friday, the Dodgers don’t often go the file and trial route in these talks. Still, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Last winter, the team couldn’t reach agreements with four players by the deadline date but ultimately worked out multi-year contracts with two (Max Muncy on a three-year deal, and Chris Taylor for two years). On the other side, the club did go to a hearing with Joc Pederson and Pedro Baez.

More than likely, the Dodgers will find a middle ground with Barnes on a one-year deal before reaching that point. But in the case of Walker Buehler, the hope is that a multi-year contract could be in the works.

Current Dodgers 2021 Payroll Estimates

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. Long-term deals for the “Big 4” of Seager, Bellinger, Buehler, and Urias is a no-brainer. Just pay them FOR their prime years, not BECAUSE/AFTER their prime years. I sure wouldn’t want to have those contracts hanging over my head when they’re 36, 37, 38 years old!

  2. Buehler and Barnes are in completely different categories. Buehler is a must keep player. Barnes, although he had a nice comeback year last year, remains expendable. Will Smith is fully capable of anchoring the catcher spot, and there are several catchers in the farm system. If Barnes gets too demanding at any point of current or future salary negotiations, he’ll be history.

    • Barnes also benefitted by the DH rule that allowed him to bat 9th in front of Betts, the lead off man. He got better pitches to hit that way. However, if he’s batting 8th with the pitcher having to bat behind him if there’s no DH, he won’t fare as well offensively. Not only that , but when Barnes catches , Will Smith would sit without having that DH spot that allowed for him to bat 5th.

  3. Barnes is not expendable he’s our best catcher at calling games and catching blocking pitches in dirt that’s why Kershaw and Buhler use him over Smith. Hopefully Dodgers sign him to 5 years and use Smith at 3rd and first and coach Smith at framing pitches.

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