Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Andrew Friedman Addresses Austin Barnes Struggles, Future

Some Dodger fans wonder if Andrew Friedman is noticing his struggling backup catcher. He does.

“We’ve all lived what Austin Barnes can do,” Friedman said. “Four months ago in the World Baseball Classic, he was really good. It’s not like drawing back to years ago. With that, and I know nobody feels it more than Austin does, it’s getting him to exhale and just go out and play the game like he can. Obviously, it’s an area that we have to evaluate.”

In the World Baseball Classic while playing for Mexico, Barnes had a .278 batting average with 5 RBI. For the Dodgers during the 2023 regular season, he has a .110 batting average with 5 RBI. His anemic offensive production has contributed to many Dodger losses.

Thus, many Dodger fans want Friedman to trade for another backup catcher, some even mentioning former Dodger Yasmani Grandal from the Chicago White Sox. Barnes is a much better defensive catcher than Grandal, even though he’s struggled this year.

The primary responsibility of a backup catcher is to play excellent defense and work well with the pitching staff, and Barnes does the latter well and the former okay, even though he has a weak throwing arm.

The Dodgers can survive with Barnes playing once or twice a week. Friedman has much more pressing matters at the trading deadline than looking for a replacement for Barnes. The Dodgers can win the World Series with Barnes, who might even improve over the last two months of the season. 

However, if Will Smith were to get hurt, they would be in a very tough position. We’ll see if the team decides to upgrade that spot before August 1.

Photo Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

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