Dodgers: Players who were saved with 2020 trade deadline unlikely

Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Austin Barnes, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Dodgers players saved by no trade deadline: Austin Barnes

If catcher Will Smith continues his development off a strong start in the major leagues, veteran backstop Austin Barnes could become expendable.

Smith entered the 2019 season as one of the top prospects in the Dodgers system and a top 100 prospect according to FanGraphs. The former first round pick played in 54 games during his first tour of the majors, showcasing his raw power with 15 home runs and a .571 slugging percentage. He also looked comfortable receiving the ball behind the plate.

What’s concerning is his splits against left-handed pitching. While he is a right-handed batter, he only hit .211 against southpaws, with 12 of his 15 home runs coming against righties. That leaves the door open for Austin Barnes, although he doesn’t hit righties or lefties particularly well.

If Smith blossoms into a full-time catcher, the Dodgers could have looked to use Barnes as a trade chip to a team who needs a veteran backstop. The 30-year-old defensive catcher garnered interest from the rival Houston Astros in the offseason who reportedly like his pitch-framing ability.

Without a trade deadline, Barnes spot in Los Angeles could be safe, at least through the 2020 season, whatever it looks like.