The Dodgers will have an interesting situation with their catchers heading into the 2021 season. The lack of the universal DH at the moment sort of complicated some of their plans. But the addition of Trevor Bauer could end up further complicating the situation behind the dish.
The Dodgers are likely to mostly use Will Smith behind the plate in 2021. The exception to that would be with Clayton Kershaw, who prefers to have teh defensive-first Austin Barnes catching his games. But if Barnes ends up being the preferred catcher of Walker Buehler as well, it could get weird.
Trevor Bauer talked about catchers after his first Spring Training game of the year. The Dodgers biggest free-agent signing discussed the importance of relationships and building trust in the first couple of weeks of working with guys behind the plate.
Yeah for sure, it’s mainly like the pace. If you can get on the same page and you’re thinking along with each other, the pace of the game goes a lot quicker. And that swings things in favor of the pitcher…That’s just one part of it. Framing pitches is big, understanding how quick do I need to be to the plate to give you guys a chance to throw runners out, how much do I need to hold them, just little things like that…they gotta feel free to talk to me and understand that I’m going to be open to it.
The fact that Bauer mentions framing pitches as a big part of the game would make Barnes the obvious choice. But Bauer also mentioned that there are so many levels to building trust with a catcher that one metric probably isn’t enough for him to have a designated Dodgers catcher.
Still, the idea of Barnes becoming his guy behind the plate could make things interesting. The Dodgers obviously would love to have Will Smith’s bat in the lineup, but that becomes difficult if there is not a DH.
It’s a good problem to have though, and one that they will deal with if they get to that point. For now, Bauer and the other pitchers will continue to work with their catchers on improving their collective game.
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