Dodgers and Catcher Austin Barnes Avoid Arbitration

The Dodgers and catcher Austin Barnes have agreed to a 1-year deal worth $1.1 million, according to Robert Murray. The deal is fully guaranteed.

It is the first season Barnes was arbitration-eligible; he was projected to receive $1.3 million. The Dodgers hold team control over Barnes until the 2023 season.

He will likely spend the season as the Dodgers’ backup catcher to Will Smith. While he isn’t going to hit a ton, Barnes is an above-average defender who has some added versatility with his ability to play second base.

He is a more than capable backup catcher and at only $1.1 million, the cost won’t affect their plans of pursuing a star player. However, this could spell the official end of Russell Martin’s time with Los Angeles.

Last season, Barnes hit .203/.292/.340 with a 68 wRC+ and 0.7 wins above replacement. He is a career .229/.343/.362 hitter with a 94 wRC+ and is widely considered one of the better pitch framers in baseball.

Along with Austin, the Dodgers also agreed on a 1-year contract to avoid arbitration with left handed reliever Scott Alexander on Sunday.

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