The Dodgers have activated veteran catcher Russell Martin from the bereavement list and optioned catcher/infielder Austin Barnes back to Triple-A Oklahoma City, according to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA.
The #Dodgers announced that they have activated Russell Martin from the bereavement list and have optioned catcher Austin Barnes to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) August 27, 2019
This move comes as no surprise, but it does somewhat clarify something: Russell Martin is the current preference as the backup catcher for the Dodgers. Although Austin Barnes is expected to receive a promotion when rosters expand next week, Martin’s leadership ability, experience, and outperforming of Austin Barnes could see him earn the backup job behind rookie sensation Will Smith.
Martin, 36, has provided a steady veteran presence behind the dish and has acted as a mentor to stud catching prospect Will Smith. On the season, Martin holds a .207/.330/.299 slash line across 69 games. He also has posted 0.7 WAR and a 74 wRC+, with an 87 wRC+ coming against left-handed pitching. He quite possibly could be in the final season of his career and he figures to be the primary backup down the stretch for the Dodgers.
Barnes, 29, is slashing a paltry .198/.288/.333 on the season, the worst of his career. Across 71 games, he has accumulated just 0.5 WAR. In his only appearance in his most recent stint in the major leagues, Barnes went 1-for-3 with a double against the New York Yankees.
More from the official press release
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they have activated Russell Martin from the bereavement list and have optioned catcher Austin Barnes to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Martin, 36, returns after missing three games. He has appeared in 69 games for the Dodgers, hitting .207 (36-for-174) with four homers and 15 RBI. The backstop has played in 1,679 games, recording 189 homers and 766 RBI in his 14-year Major League career.
Barnes, 29, played in one game in his second stint with the Dodgers, going 1-for-3 on Sunday night. In 71 games with the Dodgers, he batted .198 (41-for-207) with 11 doubles, five homers and 23 RBI. He played in 20 games for Oklahoma City, batting .250 (19-for-76) with six homers and 16 RBI. In parts of five Major League seasons with the Dodgers, he has amassed 17 homers and 78 RBI with a .227 batting average.