While MLB free agency has yet to reach full swing, a layer to it comes Friday with the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players who are eligible for salary arbitration this winter.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers that applied to Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez, Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, Yimi Garcia, Kiké Hernandez, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Ross Stripling, Chris Taylor and Julio Urias.
Alexander reportedly agreed to a one-year contract on Thursday, avoiding arbitration. It came as somewhat of a surprise considering Alexander struggled through much of the 2019 season and was thought to be a non-tender candidate.
Now the Dodgers have reportedly agreed to terms with Barnes on a one-year deal, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports:
The #Dodgers avoid arbitration with catcher Austin Barnes, signing him to $1.1 million guaranteed deal
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 3, 2019
Like with Alexander, the Dodgers’ agreement with Barnes is less than what MLB Trade Rumors projected ($1.3 million).
Despite struggling throughout much of last season, Barnes went into 2019 as the Dodgers’ starting catcher. He was optimistic an offseason’s worth of work would pay dividends at the plate.
However, Barnes still struggled, batting .203/.293/.340 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 25 RBI over 75 games. He was demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City at the end of July, returned for one game in August and was back for good as a September call-up.
In the process Barnes lost the starting job to Will Smith, and that’s expected to carry into next season. Although Barnes may no longer be the starter behind the plate, his versatility lends to opportunities at second base and third base as well.
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