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Dodgers: Russell Martin Activated, Austin Barnes Optioned to Triple-A

Martin appears to be the backup catcher going forward.

Dodgers
DENVER, CO - APRIL 5: Russell Martin #55 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws to first base against the Colorado Rockies after fielding a sixth inning bunt during the Colorado Rockies home opener at Coors Field on April 5, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

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.

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.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

4 Comments

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  1. IMO, anygame that Will Smith does NOT start is an automatic-out from the catcher’s spot in the line-up. I could care less what the starters say esp. Kershaw, who served-up 3homeruns in his last outing. I could care less about “he has pitched 6-innings all year. How many homeruns has he served-up. Before the Yankees, Bichette with the Blue Jays hit 2-homeruns off of him. Kershaw, you R no Koufax.

  2. Now that Stripling and his 91 MPH fastball is back we have some super poor pitchers that will be getting time. Looks like May is not ready to help out as he gets rocked after 5 innings. The Yankees were a good test and literally killed the pen all except Kelly. Not seeing a WS win and maybe not even NL championship right now.

  3. Barnes also threw a steal of second base into the centerfield and allowed the runner to go to third. Leave Barnes at AAA.

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