The Los Angeles Dodgers have had an eventful offseason, especially in recent weeks as they put the finishing touches on their roster for the 2021 season.
Their two biggest moves were signing Trevor Bauer and bringing back Justin Turner, which put them firmly above the luxury tax threshold for the first time since 2017.
In addition to a number of free-agent signings and trades, the Dodgers were also busy taking care of their arbitration-eligible players before the start of Spring Training.
They were able to avoid arbitration with key players like Cody Bellinger, Corey Knebel, Corey Seager and Julio Urias prior to the January deadline. That left Walker Buehler and Austin Barnes as the remaining two eligible players.
The Dodgers were able to avoid going to a hearing with Buehler, reportedly agreeing to a two-year deal with him in his first year of eligibility as a Super Two player. It appears they have now done the same with Barnes, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
The Dodgers have agreed on a two-year, $4.3M contract with catcher Austin Barnes, avoiding arbitration, source tells @TheAthletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 15, 2021
Now that both Buehler and Barnes have reportedly agreed to contracts, the Dodgers will not have an arbitration hearing this year. The situations with Buehler and Barnes were similar to Max Muncy and Chris Taylor last winter, with both of them agreeing to multi-year contracts as well.
Barnes is coming off a solid season that saw him bounce back from a sluggish start and hit .244/.353/.314 with a home run and nine RBI in 29 games while also playing stellar defense.
He wound up starting with plenty of frequency in the postseason and produced at a high level, helping the Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988.
The 31-year-old filed for $2 million in arbitration this winter with the Dodgers countering at $1.5 million. With the agreement, Barnes will be under club control for two more years backing up Will Smith before reaching free agency.
Dodgers open to trading Ruiz
With Smith and Barnes as the Dodgers’ catching duo for at least the next two seasons, there really isn’t a spot for top catching prospect Keibert Ruiz even though he is almost Major League ready.
That, coupled with the emergence of fellow catching prospect Diego Cartaya, means the Dodgers could be open to trading Ruiz if the right deal presents itself in the coming future.
Regardless, the Dodgers are very deep at the catcher position now that Barnes is under contract for two more seasons.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!