Dodgers News: Catcher Austin Barnes Sent Down to Minor Leagues

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…

A day that many have been waiting on has come to fruition. On Thursday – their off day – the Los Angeles Dodgers optioned catcher Austin Barnes to AAA Oklahoma City. At the current time, a corresponding roster move has not been announced.

Several sources on Twitter had this out, including J.P. Hoornstra.

While many hoped that Barnes would return to his 2017 form when he had an .895 OPS in 102 games, it never happened.

Through 70 games played this season, Barnes has a .616 OPS to go along with five home runs and 23 RBI. Moreover. the catcher has a batting average of .171 since April 13th.


Barnes isn’t one of those guys that was hard to root for – it just didn’t work out. Still, it’s important to remember his contributions to the 2017 Dodgers when they needed a catcher in the wake of Yasmani Grandal’s struggles. Then, Barnes stepped up.

However, it’s a business that really deals in the ‘now’. In this case, the Dodgers have a more qualified (and younger) talented option in Will Smith; who has been really excelling in AAA. Any move other than Smith returning to Los Angeles where he has had some dramatic moments would come as a surprise.

Furthermore, this may not be the last time we see Barnes in Los Angeles. Similar to when Yasiel Puig was sent down – if Barnes goes down to AAA and tears it up – there could be another tour at the big league level.

So what do you think? Is this the last of Austin Barnes in a Dodgers uniform? And do you think the Dodgers get better in an addition by subtraction with this transaction? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Staff Writer


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  1. lol just now? Thanks for waiting so long maybe we would’ve won a few more games if we didn’t have an automatic out in 2 lineup spots

    • Agreed, Although,
      Barnes and Martin should’ve been batting in the 9th spot because all of our pitchers hit better than either of them.

  2. I continue to root for Austin Barnes wherever they assign him. It’s best for Barnes to fix his swing mechanics and corresponding confidence without the added stress of big-league competition. The move also allows the Dodgers to improve their offense with an experienced rookie catcher in Will Smith. The added maturation will prepare him for post season play.

    • Well said Clint. Dodgers FO showed tremendous patience with a real good guy. They’re not just robotic number nerds. But the move had to be made. Let’s see if Smith is the answer. And let’s hope Barnes finds his stroke, either for another Dodgers run, or as a valuable trade piece.

      • Paul, it’s always good to see you here. I could see Will Smith as a staple in the clubhouse and a quiet, composed leader in about 5-7 years.

        • Glad to see this move made. Barnes’ framing skills, and handling of the staff didnt make up for his lack of production. we are gonna need an extra stick this post season. lets hope will smith is the answer.

    • Supporting a player because he is easy to like does not help the team. This is a business not pick up ball. Putting the best players in each position is what has to be done. Trying to win the World Series is what every team is trying to do. So let’s put ourselves in the best position to do that.

  3. the choice seems to be made. Smith is up, Barnes won be back in 2020, Ruiz will get moved in the right deal.

  4. Wow! A shocker. Never expected this. Would LOVE to have Martin as a mentor for Mr. Smith. He was an outstanding defender back in the day. Was thinking it would be Barnes next year. This is another of Friedman’s shrewd moves. I’m sure he had a few bugs in his ear from Roberts; last night’s error had to be the icing on the cake. Now we have “Mr. Smith goes to Washington”, just like the old movie title. Only he’ll be coming back with us via Denver Colorado. WOW!

  5. Finally. His production hasn’t been anywhere near 2017. Hopefully he can find what went wrong and correct it. Time to bring up Will Smith.

  6. He’s like Yogi Berra except for one thing. Yogi swung at everything from his eyebrows to his toes too. The difference is Yogi hit more bad pitches for doubles than any one and Barnes doesn’t

  7. Dodger’s record meant they had the luxury to be patient with Barnes. This faith from management probably helped players like Taylor, Kike, Kelly, and Pollock work through their struggles and turn their seasons around. Beside, Barnes offense was garbage but he still had positive WAR. Hopefully he fixes his game in AAA and can be a future asset. Good luck Barnes.

  8. Is it just me, or is Cody more frustrated than normal. Don’t blame him, constantly pitched nasty sliders and change ups. Worried that he won’t make comfortable adjustments in time.

  9. I feel bad for Barnes. He gives maximum effort, but he just doesn’t equate to a big league catcher. He could be a really good second baseman if he could hit a little. I hope he doesn’t give it, which I doubt he will. Will Smith is an upgrade.

  10. He’s been given so many opportunities and for over 1 1/2 years he has been over matched st the plate and is a liability. Even his defense has suffered. Time to move on.

  11. I like Austin Barnes, and I like Russell Martin. I believe the pitchers like both of them. Barnes is a good catcher, but he did not rock the job. Martin will at least be on the team this year. Smith appears to be an alternate with a much higher ceiling. He will fight with Ruiz next year for the starting job. For the balance of 2019, having Smith means more production and probably good defense, as well. It’s an opportunity and they could go back with Barnes, if Smith does not do well. Also, Barnes may be a decent trade piece.

  12. Barnes has regressed even further this year than last. His arm is weaker, (74 MPH) his framing is not as good (In the 70th percentile.) as it was and his offense is abysmal. (No need to post those stats) He is a great guy, I would to see him return to his 2017 form.

  13. I have to say it’s about time! I’m feel sorry for Barnes cause I’m a fan but something is not right with him and if you can’t hit your own weight in the show and the pitchers are hitting a better average than him its best for him to be sent down and fix it. Will Smith IMO is a better catcher and I’m excited to see big Willy style come back! Been asking for this love for three months already!

  14. When the Dodgers sent Puig to AAA, it simply was behavioral and attitude issues. Nothing to do with how he played, now I’m sure we will see Barnes again. If Smith dominates at the MLB level leading up to the playoffs, Barnes can kiss his chances goodbye

  15. I loved watching Austin Barnes behind the plate and at second base. However, all the Dodger hitters have been anemic and his low batting average was bound to be his undoing. He will be back.


    • He was always solid in the regular season. It was too much patience from Roberts through consecutive October meltdowns that turned the fans against him.

  17. Is it me or does anybody else think that joc is a horrible choice as a leadoff guy. He swings wildly at most pitches and lacks the ability to get on base constantly. It’s either feast or famine with him almost every at bat. I say let’s make Alex Verdugo the leadoff guy. He’s a much better contact hitter and has the ability to hit to all fields. I say let’s use this lineup. Verdugo Pollack. Turner. Bellinger. Muncy. Seager. Smith Pedersen and pitcher spot. What do u think. Scary.

  18. What about this kid–Ruiz? I heard good things about him during the year. Is the fact that he’s Latino holding back the adoration that Smith is getting? Sometimes a guy like Ruiz will someday, somehow, get into the big show and winds up being better than the guy getting all the hype! Let’s talk Ruiz. Is he ready too?

  19. Dodgers organization is simply too deep at catcher to let Barnes continue. The Dodger look ead in the NL west bought him more time than he would have received otherwise. I believe Dodger pitcher prefer Barnes, and that may also have extended him at the big league level. For that reason, it will be awkward for Smith when he comes back up.

  20. I’ve seen enough. Grandal turns out to be the same. Sent down, came back for the rest of last season and thought too much of himself. Barnes needs a change of direction and scenery. Good luck.

  21. Wish you the best Austin. Get your act together in AAA and you’ll be back in September to help the Dodgers!!

  22. Austin Barnes could be the next Chase Utley to Keke Hernandez. Barnes so much intellect and experience that he could be very important to the Dodger’s making the world series again by helping the young will Smith with some guidance. Barnes is a game. He has the know how and awareness to uplift a young replacement. I’m a fan of Austin Barnes. But know that in baseball you need an elder class man to hold you accountable. Russell Martin is an awesome intelligent player but remember Barnes has been here through the thick and thin of our world series aspirations. Go Dodger’s.

  23. I would like to see Will Smith throw to Will Smith. Whatever, we need at least one outstanding reliever. Management has to face the fact that you have to give up quality to get quality. Like the rest of you, this long-time fan (75 years) is frustrated that year after year our season ends before it is supposed to.

  24. Too bad, but I much prefer Barnes over Martin. Best wishes him and his quick return on time for the playoffs.

  25. that guy is not a gamer at all and he is weak sauce. If I watch that guy take one more perfect pitch down the middle I will puke!!!

  26. This does not mean Ruiz is (necessarily) going to be traded. Ruiz is still rated as the better long term prospect. This is a chance for Will to stake his claim to the job. This news was a breath of fresh air.

    • There’s no rush to deal Ruiz. Smith can be the starter for this year and next year and then In 2021 Ruiz will be a rookie who could serve as Smiths backup which will put off the tough decision until 2022

  27. Of course. A year and a half is more than enough time. With Smith and other options in the minors that look like an upgrade it just makes sense. Very nice. No trade needed. it’s always hard to say goodbye to a good guy ie: A J Ellis.

  28. Of course. A year and a half is a very good sample size. Having an upgrade in the minors like Smith and others and not having to trade is a big plus. It’s always hard to trade a team player and a good clubhouse guy ie: A J Ellis.

  29. Very good story and let’s hope Will is ready! Like the author I grew up in Chavez Ravine and always listened to V. Scully, the one the only…I was born just South of Brooklyn in 1959 and my parents headed for LA soon after the Dodgers did…I now live in Seattle and other then some good friends I think the only thing I miss is my Dodgers!

  30. Clint:
    Well, it’s about time. Nothing was has been so obvious for so long. Barnes is simply not a ML level ballplayer.
    Each out matters, and in October, even more.
    Will Smith, while probably not a super high average hitter, will hit much, much higher than Barnes and with a lot of power & RBIs.
    Plus, and not usually mentioned, is that Smith as a better catcher with a much better arm.
    Keeping Martin as a mentor / advisor makes a lot sense, and even he hits a little better than the atrocious Barnes.
    The Dodgers should have done this months ago.

  31. I think the bosses have been rattling Ok City threats at Austin ever since Will Smith did so good when he was brought up to the big leagues!!! He has not smiled in months and I was worried this was coming!!! Austin did everything that was asked of him! He worked with everyone who needed work and was there to cover whenever needed as the team lost one catcher after another!!! Look out Russell Martin, your next!! The bosses just keep getting more pitchers and has been players and show no loyalty to the guys who got this team the last three years of good baseball!!!

  32. Hello Clint, I thought that Barnes did have options so this was the time to do this, as it does give Smith 2 months before the PS to really get acclimated up here. But as I mentioned before, it might serve Will Smith (since he does have power) to hit higher in the lineup other than 8th, where I believe they may put him.. He won’t get too many pitches to hit being right in front of the pitcher.

  33. When Will was up before, was hoping to keep a third catcher around to get Will a few reps—and to hang with Martin and Barnes. Barnes has been off defensively, but still has some intellect to pass on to a young catcher. But now Roberts would be repaid well to make Smith stick with Martin like glue. Martin has always been a solid upper echelon defensive catcher. And he will probably be gone after this year. And having Smith bat 8th will help make our lineup deeper. He has pop; and they are going to pitch around or intentionally walk him to bring the pitcher up. Especially with 2 outs and and runners on second or third. They never pitched around Barnes this year. Would be interesting to know how many times a pitcher led off an mining for us.t

  34. So long overdue. He just lets face it can’t damn well hit. Defense is also a bit shakie at best. Sorry but he doesn’t belong on this years team.
    They gave him a million chances.

  35. Sorry to see Barnes going down to the minors. I realize the problems he has had lately and I hope he improves. I always liked him; he was one of the few Dodger players without the beard.

  36. Austin “barn yard” Barnes did step up in 2017 for a loss in the WS .. again . What the Myopic Dodger fans and wanna B Joe Buck , Joe Davis has no clue about is this. The Dodgers are sub par in a Championship series on DEFENSE ! ZERO gold gloves and the slightest of errors compiled in a series NLC Or WS equals a Loss ! Im not talking about regular season. That can be patched over with High octane offense and decent pitching . I told Gary Beatty from Simi Valley CA Dodgers will lose the 3rd WS in a row because they must have a Gold glove at the catcher position to win .. Period .

  37. Barnes needs to look at old tapes of how he hit in 2017 and mimic that 2017 swing. Barnes is great as a catcher! Hope he gets his old swing back. We are lucky to have Will Smith. He is a Louisville guy, my hometown! Linda

  38. As Vin Scully used to say, “It’s hard enough to make it to the Big Leagues but even harder to stay there.” I feel bad for Austin but it’s a brutal “what have you done for me lately” business. I wish him the best.

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