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Per FanSided MLB insider Robert Murray, the Los Angeles Dodgers have extended catcher Austin Barnes.
Barnes is the backup catcher behind Will Smith. He also has plenty of experience as a pinch hitter and at second base if necessary. The 32-year-old represents the Dodgers overall positional flexibility, and their willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
Per FanSided’s Robert Murray, Los Angeles recognized this as well, signing Barnes to a two-year contract extension.
Barnes is a career Dodger, as he’s been with the team since he made his MLB debut in 2015. This year, his LA teammates have deemed him ‘the captain’, as he buoyed the team through some early-season struggles.
Since then, however, his statistics have plummeted from a batting standpoint, as he’s now well below the Mendoza line.
Dodgers extend Austin Barnes: What does it mean?
It means they value Barnes’ clubhouse presence, if anything. With the Freddie Freeman saga still rearing its ugly head, the Dodgers front office has, for now, deflected some bad news with good news.
Barnes is unlikely to take over as starting catcher anytime soon, unless by absolute necessity. Will Smith is the far superior player at the plate and still has three years of arbitration left on his contract.
Nonetheless, Barnes is important to the fabric of this team. Star infielder Trea Turner described it best, explaining the Dodgers ‘captain’ t-shirts aimed at Barnes.
“He’s our captain. He led us early in the year, he hit our first homer of the year. He put us on our back early with all those homers. We started to call him captain and it stuck. He hates it so I had these shirts made to make everyone know that he’s our fearless leader, and I remind them every single day,” Turner said.
It’s that simple. What Barnes means to the clubhouse cannot be replaced.