Dodgers Dump Austin Barnes, Recall Will Smith

The Dodgers have finally moved on from Austin Barnes. On Thursday afternoon the club announced that they have optioned the right handed hitting backstop to Oklahoma City and recalled top catching prospect Will Smith. Although we will likely see Barnes again when the rosters expand in September, this is likely the last time Barnes will be on the active roster, at least as a primary backstop.

The Dodgers have finally had enough of Barnes’ horrendous hitting. In 2018 Barnes slashed .208/.329/.290 with a 72 OPS+ and just 9 extra-base hits over 238 plate appearances. He followed that up with an even worse campaign in 2019. Thus far across 233 plate appearances this season, Barnes is slashing a putrid .196/.288/.328 with 5 home runs, 23 runs driven in and a 64 OPS+ and a .616 OPS. The only question surrounding Barnes’ horrendous batting was if he could possibly challenge Garret Anderson or Bill Bergen for the most punch-less Dodger seasons of all time.

Barnes thankfully will not get that chance to prove he is one of the worst Dodger hitters in franchise history. Of course it is unfair to pile on Barnes without mentioning that veteran Russell Martin can’t hit either. Martin is batting just .225 and has driven in only 9 runs all season.

Smith, the 24-year old Louisville native has already smashed two walk-off home runs this season for the Dodgers. He’s 7 for 26 (.269) with 3 home runs and has posted a .345 OBP across 29 plate appearances. Smith has appeared nine games this season behind the plate.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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12 thoughts on “Dodgers Dump Austin Barnes, Recall Will Smith

  1. I rarely liked Barnes behind the plate. He is too small of a target. He opens his catchers mitt and his whole body disappears behind it. What he had going for him is that he was not Grandal. (He could prevent pass balls from being an automatic extra base, unlike Yasman Groundout) Going into this season with him as the starter was nearly gross negligence. I said so at the time and lobbied for Kurt Suzuki. While not tearing it up, Kurt is serviceable this year. Something Barnes has not been.

    Nothing personal on Austin. Just baseball issues. Grandal I do not like. (He was a cheat and there were constant excuses from him for his bad play.)

    1. You got that right, Mexivan. The only thing Barnes has going for him was that he was not Grandal.

      The Fresh Prince era is here!

  2. Very disappointed in Barnes. Basically handed the role as primary catcher, no pressure to compete, and he totally flakes out. Definitely needs a mental break from the “Bigs”, so he can hopefully get his head screwed on straight.

    I really do not understand the reason why they Physh’d Tyler White from the Dumpster. Maybe a part of a bigger move? They do not need another 1B-man, that’s for sure. Maybe White was picked up, should Freese fall back to the IL, and they also add a R/H bat to the bench? Maybe a replacement for Pederson, so they can bundle Joc with a few lower prospects, to get a badly needed reliever? Peterson, like Barnes, has been a bit disappointing. Yes, he has 23 HR’s in spite of his limited playing time. The Dodgers show little confidence in his ability to face Lefties. Just recently, the Dodgers have attempted to get Joc more playing time (maybe to showcase him?) but he, like Barnes, cannot take advantage of the opportunity…. therefore IMO, Pederson is expendable, but he could be a valuable piece in a big trade.

    The perennial powerhouse Astros “designated” White for a reason. I do not think he will help this Dodger team at all. Definitely not the impact player they need to increase their chances for the coveted ring.

    This “Dumpster Dive” move is typical of AF’s Modus Operandi. This team has too many holes to fill, and Friedman is always trying to fill these holes with cheap “Spackle” jobs.

    The move to recall Will Smith is definitely a move in the right direction. Instead of diving in the Walmart dumpsters, they should look in their own backyard. Why continue to hold these eager and hungry farmhands back?

    Face it, the bullpen, including Jansen is a shambles. The Dodgers cannot make enough moves to improve it, before the deadline…. need more than one more new arm, including another “closer” option. Looks like Jansen has totally lost his mojo.

  3. Hey bub, don’t knock Wal-Mart! I shop there a lot.. Back to Barnes, it should have been done a long time ago. He has been pretty bad for quite a while. But as is Roberts way, they let him try to work his way out of it. I also did not think Martin was going to be all that as his backup. I was pulling for Yan Gomes to be traded for, little did I know that he was going to flop as bad as he has in DC. Barnes is not going to get a whole lot of playing time down there with Ruiz on the scene. I have a feeling that the Dodgers have decided to move on from Barnesy. On another note, Stripling to the IL and Jamie Schultz called up. Verdugo in the leadoff spot today and Joc hitting 8th right behind Smith.

    1. Sorry about Walmart, Michael, but that was the only place I could think of, that had Dodger Blue dumpsters, and Dodger “Bluelight Specials”.

      Did you hear rumor that Ruiz might be dealt to Pittsburgh, for their closer Vasquez?

      1. Yep, and blue light specials were K-Mart. Rumor is though that Pittsburgh wants Ruiz and one of the other top 4 guys, namely May, and I doubt AF would do that deal. Smith homers in his first AB back.

  4. Belli is really in a slump. Been a while since he has really hit the ball hard. Kersh has 1st inning problems again, but then settles down. Lets hope the offense opens up. They have been asleep for a few days.

    1. Boy, Belli has really been in a bad place. He looks so frustrated at the plate. Umps seem to be messing with his head and strike zone, and instigating him to blow a fuse. Opposing pitchers take full advantage of Belli’s expanded strikezone.

      As far as Kershaw and his slow start… I noticed that this has been a huge problem all year, and not just Kershaw. All the pitchers have had this problem, including the relievers.

      I questioned the acquisition of Mark Pryor as bullpen coach, as soon as he was hired. I feel that he must be doing something wrong, preparing these pitchers to get “game ready”. Maybe something about the way he warms them up? Starters giving up early leads, and takes them two or three innings to find their comfort zone. I think Darvish had the same problem last season. Relievers, like Kelly tonight, giving up a dinger to the first batter he faces. Even Kenley has struggled, giving up too many walks and hits. Awfully strange. This was not an issue when Kenny Howell was at the helm in the pen. What is also strange is the numerous injuries these pitchers have. Something obviously wrong with what these pitchers are doing on their off days (bullpen sessions and conditioning).

      Ryu having a great year? I heard Ryu dances to his own tune. He does not follow the typical pitcher protocols. He warms up any way he feels, and does not throw bullpen sessions per Pryor’s regimine. Dodgers allow him to call his own shots.

      I really think Mark Pryor is a big part of the problem with this pitching staff. Honeycutt is giving Pryor too long of a leash.

  5. New from MLB trade rumors. Dodgers interested in Stroman. Not sure why, but maybe because the asking price for Thor is astronomical.

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