3 most difficult decisions Dodgers must make before end of spring training

There's plenty still to sort out for the offseason's champions.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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The Dodgers' rotation and Opening Day lineup are inarguably among the best in baseball, made up of 14 of the best players in the sport. And that's not all — more are right behind them; Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw will both be joining at different points during the season to make the rotation even more fearsome.

But nothing is perfect. The Dodgers might not have the same massive, glaring problems that some teams (*cough* Padres *cough*) possess, with very little time to iron things out before spring training ends, but there are still things that LA can improve on and moves they can make to strengthen the roster even further before Opening Day in Seoul.

3 difficult decisions the Dodgers could make before spring training ends

Replace Austin Barnes with a top prospect

Austin Barnes, longtime Dodgers backup catcher, has been flailing for years. His best offensive year was in 2017, the only year he's appeared in more than 100 games, when he hit .289/.408/.486, and his best defensive year was 2018, when he posted an elite fielding run value behind the plate. He hasn't been the same since then, and in 2023 he played 59 games and hit for a .180 average with a .498 OPS.

The Dodgers might feel comfortable keeping him for the time being because Will Smith is so reliable and Barnes still has a year left on his contract extension before a club option hits, but would the $3.5 million they still owe him really be so hard to eat if they DFA'ed him? Such a maneuver would also mean the Dodgers would have a more reliable catching platoon.

The Dodgers have three top catcher prospects at spring training — Dalton Rushing, an NRI and No. 1 Dodgers prospect; Hunter Feduccia, a holdover on the 40-man after being saved from the Rule 5 draft; and Diego Cartaya, the team's current No. 2 prospect. Rushing and Cartaya might need some more time to develop in the minors, but Feduccia is the oldest of the three at 26, and his numbers over 90 games in Triple-A last year looked great.

Who knows why the Dodgers have kept Barnes around this long? Maybe the plan was to wait for Rushing, Feduccia, or Cartaya to be ready to learn the intricacies of the pitching staff. If that's true, then now's the time.