In all seriousness, Dodgers fans are legitimately wondering what Austin Barnes' value to this roster is. Will Smith can catch Clayton Kershaw without issue, and the split stats don't show a discernible difference to give Barnes the nod.
Barnes bat has always been bad or below-average, but he's reached a new low in 2023. He has a -5 OPS+ heading into this weekend's series. He's hitting .107 across 30 games. His lone productive offensive season came in 2017, yet the Dodgers felt the need to give him a $7 million extension that kicked in this year. He's under contract through 2024 with a club option for 2025.
It was yet another failed micro investment from Andrew Friedman, a trend that's become rather disturbing when you realized how many of the low-risk, high-reward moves haven't panned out. They add up, and all the misses probably could've paid for one big-time, impact player.
Simply put, the Dodgers cannot have an active roster consisting of Rojas, Barnes, Trayce Thompson/Jonny DeLuca, and Chris Taylor. Taylor is probably where you draw the line: he stays because of his contract and versatility, but this many underachieving/inexperienced players can't possibly be part of the World Series equation.
The Dodgers have Hunter Feduccia at Triple-A and he's been raking. It's probably more worthwhile to give him a shot than watch Barnes wither away and not even make a difference when paired with the pitcher he was signed to catch.