The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided arbitration with Scott Alexander and Austin Barnes by re-signing each to a one-year contract. The team officially announced the agreements hours after Monday’s 5 p.m. PT deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players.
Pedro Baez, Cody Bellinger, Kiké Hernandez, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Ross Stripling, Chris Taylor and Julio Urias were all tendered a contract. The Dodgers non-tendered Yimi Garcia, who immediately became a free agent.
In some sense it was a bit of a surprise Alexander didn’t find himself in the same boat as Garcia. He went into the season projected to fill a key role for the Dodgers as a lefty specialist.
His importance was magnified as Tony Cingrani worked to return from shoulder trouble before undergoing season-ending surgery and ultimately getting traded.
Alexander struggled through the first month of the season, which Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hoped was a byproduct of hamstring trouble having compromised his mechanics. Alexander was placed on the 10-day injured list June 11 due to left forearm inflammation.
It was considered a minor injury but wound up marking the beginning of the end to his 2019 season. Alexander suffered a thumb injury as he inched closer to beginning a rehab assignment and that wound up stemming from a nerve issue in his left arm.
The 30-year-old underwent nerve decompression procedure in September, officially ending his season. Alexander was limited to 28 appearances, going 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA, 5.07 FIP and 1.39 WHIP with nine strikeouts and seven walks in 17.1 innings.
While Barnes did not endure the same injury woes as Alexander, he too struggled throughout the year. He began the season as the primary catcher over Russell Martin but by the end of the season had been supplanted by rookie Will Smith.
Barnes’ ongoing struggles led to a demotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City at the end of July, and aside from rejoining the Dodgers for one game in August, he did not return for good until a September callup.
Barnes finished the season batting .203/.293/.340 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 25 RBI over 75 games. He figures to back up Smith in 2020.
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