Dodgers: Reevaluating the Trade That Brought Austin Barnes to LA
In the wake of Austin Barnes’ contribution to the Dodgers advancing to the NLCS I thought it would be a good time to give Dodger fans a refresher of how Barnes came to wear Dodger blue.
Austin Barnes, 27, has been with the Dodgers organization for three seasons now. He made his big league debut back in 2015 with the Dodgers and also played in 21 games last season.
Prior to this season, Barnes spent his time at Oklahoma City in the Dodgers Triple-A team. At Triple-A, Barnes saw success with the Dodgers organization. Barnes hit .310/.384/.441 with 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his two full seasons with the OKC Dodgers.
Initially, those numbers didn’t carry over to the big leagues. Barnes hit .181/.631/.464 with the Dodgers in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He actually collected more strikeouts (15) than hits (11) through his first glimpse of playing time in the bigs. But as we all are well aware, he has become a staple of the this Dodger team this season.
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So how did the Dodgers find Austin Barnes?
Barnes was acquired in December of 2014 from the Miami Marlins. This was actually one of Andrew Friedman’s first move as the President of Baseball Operations, in which he traded reigning 2014 All-Star, Dee Gordon. The trade was a big deal to Dodger fans.
The Dodgers shipped Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas (and cash) to the Marlins in exchange for Chris Hatcher, Andrew Heaney, Kike Hernandez, and you guessed it, Austin Barnes. Let that sink in for a minute.
Andrew Friedman found himself a couple of key players on today’s NLCS roster. While this deal, at that time, did not carry a significant impact on the MLB landscape, it shapes the MLB playoffs this season. Friedman made a move that protected the future of this organization just two months after signing his contract with the Dodgers.
Today, Austin Barnes may be the best backup catcher in the league. At the time it seemed as if the Dodgers gave up a lot by trading away Gordon. But after his first season with the Marlins, Gordon was suspended for 80 games due testing positive for PEDs. Gordon is a solid player, but the Dodgers have found their catcher of the future in Barnes.
Next: Roberts' Lineup Adjustments
This just goes to show that not every move needs to be eye-popping. With Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi making the moves up in the Dodgers front office, this organization is in good hands. Every move doesn’t always impact the current state of the team. These two have done a great job of creating a balanced MLB product and a deep minor league farm system. Deals like these that bring in Kike, Barnes, and even Taylor is what makes up the grittiness of this team today.