Austin Barnes – Catcher! Period.

According to a report byCary Osborne of Dodger Insider, Austin Barnes is a catcher… nothing more:

Other news coming out of Camelback Ranch on Friday is that the plan for the versatile Austin Barnes is for him to stay behind the plate for Spring Training. Barnes is competing for the backup catcher job. In 585 career minor league games, he has caught 336 games, played second base in 165 and third base in 24. He appeared at all three positions with the Dodgers last season.

“Austin’s just going to stay behind the plate and work closely with Yasmani (Grandal), the pitchers and (non-roster invite) Bobby Wilson as well,” said Dave Roberts. “For a young player just to consistently work back there and not having to worry too much about changing his arm stroke and just the consistency for us (and him is more beneficial). It is asking a lot of a player to kind of move around, and we know he can defend if he needs to at second base.”

I think by focusing on catching, he can be a little more relaxed at the plate as well.  Since he really is not playing for a spot, I believe you will see him hit like he is capable.  Grandal and Barnes will be one of the top catching duo in baseball  this year – both offensively and defensively!

Rants & Raves

  • The only injury news is Adrian Gonzalez who is on the shelf for at least two weeks.  I’m sure they will be aggressively treating his tennis elbow, but ultimately, it just requires rest.
  • I like what Roberts is doing with Puig – basically RF is Puig’s to lose.  I don’t want to see him pressing – I just want to see Yasiel focused and ready.  I am hoping that this is the year he realizes his potential… that’s all a fan can do. I realize that is wishful thinking, but I am see a level of maturity he has not exhibited before, so there is reason to believe.  As I have said before, if he reaches his potential – LOOK OUT!  He’s capable of hitting 30 HR/100 RBI/.950 OPS – Can you imagine that in the Number 2 spot?
  • There seems to be an aura of professionalism and determination surrounding this team – a quiet confidence, if you will.   They know that last year’s injury bug will not likely hit again and I feel that 2017 is something special.  While I know they would like to have cut payroll (and they ultimately may) this year, they realize that being “stacked” gives them the best opportunity to win in 2017 and then keep rolling into the 2020’s.  This team is primed for a long run of winning and it may start with a Wold Championship 29 years after the last one. I have not been this excited about the team since… well – I can’t remember!
  • Andre Ethier – What will become of him?  There are lots of sub-plots to play out.

 UPDATE:

In what can only be considered shocking news, Clayton Kershaw will be the OPening Day Starter for the Dodgers… hopefully!  Who knew?

This article has 13 Comments

  1. I agree with you about Puig, Mark. I have always liked him, but like everybody else, have been frustrated at his lack of adjustments in the batters box. (Start off by busting him high and tight inside, finish him off by pitching low and away off the plate). If he ever figures it out, like going with that pitch to right field and being more selective, I totally feel like he will be THE guy that gets the Dodgers over the top. He could be scary good. And like you, I will be rooting for him, Having him at the 2 spot in front of Seager and Turner would be unbelievable. I am also all in for this year, even though I might get my heart broken again. To bring back the whole core of guys is very rare in this day and age. Roberts has totally won me over, he will be even better this year. By the way, what’s your take on bringing Blanton back? If he’s still out there, would he be cheap enough to bring back.

    1. I would bet that there is a one-year offer on the table for him and with each passing day, it becomes more likely he will sign with the Dodgers. The pen is loaded now… One more can’t hurt!

    2. Roger

      I agree with you about Puig going with the pitch, to right field.

      When Puig is doing well, most of his power, is to right side, of the field.

      Mark you are right.

      Puig is still competing for the right field job.

      But Roberts, just worded it differently, and that is what makes Roberts a good manager, because he is a good communicator.

  2. Having Roberts leading this team can’t be understated. He knows how to deal with 25 different personalities and most especially Y. Puig. Barring major injuries to key players, this team has the talent, attitude and where with all to bring home the prize. Let the games begin.

  3. I have stated all along that Barnes should be the backup catcher only. He needs to learn the pitchers, and have the pitchers develop their trust in him. He cannot just be a receiver, but he needs to be in charge. He cannot get there by being a utility INF as well. The backup catcher is a very important part of the 25 man, and Austin Barnes can become the best backup catcher in baseball. Barnes already has positive marks as being a good framer; now we will get to watch him develop into a full fledged MLB catcher.
    .
    Unfortunately tennis elbow can become chronic, and is very painful, but it can be treated. Mine got so bad that shaking hands was excruciating. I received three cortisone shots (non-steroid) and it finally quited down and has not come back. It looks like Bellinger is going to get an even more extended look. SVS is looking to be needed in a more important role for 2017 as well.

  4. Looking forward to Barnes getting his chance to shine. I saw where Roberts said Grandal will be going against both lefties and righties. I hope Grandal gets REGULAR rest and Barnes regular play against lefties. Grandal at 120 – 130 games seems about right to me.

    Ethier? Yeah, what will become of him? I can see him and Kazmir gone by the start of the season, if they look good this spring. I know he has a no-trade, but, he wants another contract.

    1. I agree Boxout. Both Ethier and Kazmir are expendable and could get us even more young pitching. Looks like the Dodgers are going young in the outfield(cant wait until a healthy Trace Thompson shows up)and I think Ethiers time here has passed. Kazmir seems like a box of chocolates, he will strike out 8 or 9 guys one game, then get lit up and cant get out of the 3rd inning the next. Trade him while you can.

  5. I finally did it. I went and bought season tic for this season!

    2 tic in Inner Reserve; Mark, if you ever come out, you know you’re welcome to join me

    1. Congratulations! Hope you have the right to get the same, or better, tickets for the Series! Where is “Inner Reserve”? Close in on what they used to call the “Loge” (second deck)?

      1. Box, yes, with my 2 season tic, I have the right to purchase those same seats for all playoff games at Dodger Stadium

        So Field is 1st deck, lodge 2nd deck, and then Reserve is that huge 3rd deck, right above the suites/press box. I”m in inner reserve, section 15, so basically I”m behind the Dodger dugout.

        Of course I’ll sell most games, as who has time to go to 81 games a year. But it would be fun to meet some of you at the Stadium and get a few beverages.

  6. I have always been a huge Austin Barnes fan, so much so that I believe he could have been a solid 2B. I think he’s a guy who can hit .280 and just be a baller, but I agree with AC that if he focuses on catching alone, be can be excellent. In fact, he could be coveted by other teams as a starting catcher, so that as Will Smith, Kyle Farmer, Keibert Ruiz or others climb the ladder, Austin or Yasmani may become valuable trade pieces.

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