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Home > Opinion > Memo to Dodgers: It’s Time For The Will Smith Era To Begin

Memo to Dodgers: It’s Time For The Will Smith Era To Begin

The Dodgers have suffered a rash of injuries lately. Corey Seager and David Freese both have strained hamstrings and Rich Hill was diagnosed with a forearm strain. Because of the injuries the Dodgers called up rookie catching sensation Will Smith along with a couple of other guys. He’s already made quite an impact during his first sting with the big club.

I’ve talked about the Dodger’s catching situation in great detail here over the last several months. Austin Barnes while being a good defensive catcher continues to disappoint at the plate. While he was out a couple of weeks when he battled a groin strain, he’s otherwise been relatively healthy. Things haven’t changed for him. He remains an awful hitter. So far through 173 plate appearances he is slashing .220/.318/.373 with little power (5 home runs 18 runs batted in) and has posted an OPS+ of 82. That is slightly better than the putrid OPS+ of 72 he registered in 2018, but not by much. In his five major league seasons Barnes has tallied an OPS+ of over 100 just once.

Smith on the other hand has proven himself to be not only very capable behind the dish but also quite adept with the bat. Smith is just 24-years old and has already notched two walk-off home runs in a matter of weeks. His last walk-off dinger came against the Phillies back on May 30 June 1. He then elated everyone by slugging yet another one on Sunday afternoon in the Dodger’s win over the Rockies.

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Through 24 plate appearances Smith is batting .318/.375/.773 (7 for 22) with 3 home runs (almost as much as Barnes already) and six runs driven in. On top of the walk-off blasts he’s also thrown out two base runners attempting to steal, showing off his strong and accurate throwing arm.

Smith has a long way to go and much to learn behind the plate. While Barnes does know the pitching staff better than any other receiver on the Dodger’s roster, it doesn’t make much sense to keep playing Barnes when the Dodgers have a younger, better and stronger hitting catcher. Look, Barnes is an atrocious hitter and it’s just not likely to ever change. That’s not to disparage Barnes. As I just mentioned above he’s a solid catcher. He can call a good game, and rarely makes defensive miscues. That doesn’t make up for his flaccid bat. At this point I see no reason to continue to play Barnes over Smith. It’s time for the Will Smith era to begin.

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Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

11 thoughts on “Memo to Dodgers: It’s Time For The Will Smith Era To Begin

  1. Agree…Time is now, for Will Smith to shed his Minor League training pants, and stay up in the Big Show. Barnes and Martin are not up to the challenge, and need help (or replacement)

    Well, All-Star final ballot vote is in. The best team in baseball was able to secure only two players on the final ballot. A “No Brainer” selection, Cody Bellinger. The surprise to the Dodger brass was the inclusion of part timer, Joc Pederson. Joc will probably not make the final three starting positions, but it is a testament to his abilities. I wish the Dodgers would stop playing games with his career, and let him play. Looks like the Dodgers will only have one position player on the vote in roster.

    All other Dodgers on the ballot are below the top three in voting. I blame not just injuries, but mainly Spectrum Sportsnet LA for monopolizing Dodger TV broadcasts, depriving many of the ability to see them play by blacking out local broadcasts, thus minimizing fan interest in voting. Also blame the fact that due to time change, West Coast teams are not widely seen on TV. Who on the East Coast will stay up from 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM to watch the Dodgers?

    So, All-Star games mean little to nothing, to me anyway. It is a farce, as far as I am concerned.

  2. Well Dodgers came back down to earth. No miracles tonight.

    Kershaw has a disappointing start, going toe-to-toe with Grienke, in a dead heat, 4-4 tie. That coupled with 3-12 RISP, 10 LOB, and 11 strikeouts, and the return of the shaky bullpen ends the 6 game win streak.

    Highlight of the night…. Another girl comes on the field to chase down Belli. Kid better hurry up and get married, and take himself off the market.

    Belli nixs the HR Derby. Glad to hear it. He eyes the big prize in October

  3. Scott, the rumors of your death were greatly exaggerated, teets still facing forward. Yes, it is time for a “Smith, C” on the line-up card daily. However, the brass seem very reluctant to let the kids play, at least on the big stage, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is in OKC soon. I mentioned during his first stint that he needed to stay up and shouldn’t be denied, yet he was sent packing. I still think the minor league players must be very frustrated with this ongoing occurrence. More importantly, you all are going to piss off The Little Ole Dan from Pasadena” with such complaints and fact stating about Barnes.

    Now, when Pollock gets back, you know that Beatty or Garlick are being shipped out, never mind that they have done more for the team in a week or two than Pollock has done so far this season. Pollock was a huge stretch when they signed him, I think he is a huge stretch to think he is going to really have a good impact on the rest of the season. However, we all know he is going to be stuck right back in the lineup immediately and will be given 30 to 45 days to prove he does or does not belong. Sigh!

    I heard a report that the Dodgers are talking to the Giants about acquiring one or two of their bullpen pitchers, watch for that developing story.

  4. Pollock is a proven commodity with a track record, when he is healthy of course, of being a very productive player. Both Garlick and Beaty are very skilled players who have surprised the brass with what they have done so far. Pollock is on a 5 year 55 million dollar deal. He is not going to get traded or sat down. He will be given the chance to reclaim his starting role. That much was made clear by Roberts not only when he went on the DL, but as late as last week. All reports have him being ready for a re-hab assignment within the next week or so. No matter what the fans feel, he is going to play. Hence, that is why Pederson is playing 1st base. They want to keep Joc’s bat in the lineup, so he moves to first, Verdugo to left and Pollock slides back into the CF slot. Beaty or Garlick is gone when Freese comes back anyway. Most likely Garlick since Freese is that RH bat with sock off of the bench. Smith is another thing all together. The kid to me at least is the real deal. Solid behind the plate, a good hitter with power. Even though he did not throw out the runner stealing last night, his peg was right on the bag. I am fine with the Dodgers moving one of their two veteran catchers and teaming Smith with them. As for last nights game, a team loss. The offense did not take advantage of numerous opportunities, and the bullpen failed in the late innings. Kersh kept the team in the game after he allowed 4 in the first 2 frames. Floro had a really bad night. No defense for that. But it started with a weak hit pop that dropped and spiraled out of control. I read MLB rumors two or three times a day, so I wonder where you have read that the Dodgers are talking to the Giants because that is not being reported anywhere I have seen. Gonsolin being promoted to pitch tomorrow’s game. Turner will sit. Day game after a night game.

  5. Although it might be time for the Smith era to begin, the question remains. Which catcher is moved? How much value does either have on the open market? Barnes is struggling. Martin has been ok back there and could be a mentor to the kid. Barnes is versatile and will probably play second base in one of these games against the Dirtbags. Roberts has already said Martin will play 3rd on Wednesday when Turner rests. Smith is getting a start also.

    1. Michael, IMHO Barnes possibly could be part of a trade package for a badly needed impact reliever, as we saw again last night that what we currently have in the BP WILL NOT cut it deep into October baseball. martin can stay and mentor Smith as needed but true that Barnes or Martin won’t bring much back in any deals by themselves. CK was willing to take the blame for the loss but as I watched it, when CT 3 struck out LOOKING with the bases full was probably the turning point in the game

  6. I think it is time for Barnes to go. I like him behind the plate but his bat is worse than bad. I hate to see him go because I think he is a good kid but that is my opinion. Keeping Martin may be OK for this year but what about after that? I know, let’s let Dummy decide. If he is wrong everyone will make an excuse for him and if he is right he will say he knew it all the time.

    1. Pack, believe it or not, Barnes is not the worst hitting catcher out there. Pina, Murphy, Knapp, Swihart, Mejia, Cervelli, Hedges, and Barnhart, are all at .200 or below. Yan Gomes, the Nats full time catcher is hitting 3 points higher than Barnes with the same number of homers and RBI’s. Buster Posey is only hitting .239. And most of those guys can’t carry Barnes glove and are less versatile than Austin. He just made some adjustments on his swing, and few people were calling for his head after his 3 hit game and homer the other day. My take is that they will both be on the team the entire season. No change will be made until after the season is over. Smith will continue to ride the AAA-LA elevator for the time being. If they can find a taker, it would only be if he is packaged in a deal. Alone he might bring a box on new baseballs and a rosin bag. By the way, he is playing 2nd tonight and batting 8th. Taylor is hitting cleanup. Another of Roberts mix and match lineups vs a lefty. Kike, who sucks as a lead off hitter is leading off and playing CF.

  7. Well Smith was ofer tonight. But he did a good job calling the game. He had his bell rung on a couple of foul balls but shook them off. As for Barnes, he did a decent job at 2nd, but the bat was silent again. That they won with the lineup they ran out there amazes me.

  8. It is IMHO, a little early in the game to anoint Smith. He has done well, but the pitchers in the league are going to adjust and change how he is pitched. He struck out 3 times and walked once tonight. The best thing about his at bats tonight was the number of pitches he forced Ray to make. Close to 30. He also called a good game. I think next year he will definitely be the #1 catcher. His time is close, but not here yet.

  9. Recall Will Smith. Martin stays in the beleaguered bullpen.

    After today’s performance, No Dodgers deserve an All
    Star nod.

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