Dodgers shock fans with huge Will Smith extension (that of course has deferrals)

Philadelphia Phillies v Los Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia Phillies v Los Angeles Dodgers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

Since the Dodgers re-signed Kiké Hernández last month, it's been all quiet on the money front in LA. March has been all about spring training, the Seoul Series and, now, dealing with a league-shaking controversy surrounding the face of baseball.

With just over 24 hours to go until the Dodgers' home opener against the Cardinals, it might seem like a strange time for the team to be making any big decisions apart from finalizing their 26-man roster.

And, well, it is a strange time, but that didn't keep the Dodgers from reaching deeper into their seemingly endless well of money to, per Jeff Passan, extract $140 million to extend catcher Will Smith for 10 years.

Dodgers extend Will Smith on a 10-year, $140 million deal

After the arbitration deadline passed in January, with Smith and the Dodgers agreeing to $8.55 million for 2024, it seemed like we'd have to wait a lot longer for any long-standing extension talks to continue, especially with the $1 billion they'd already promised to Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The offseason progressed, the Dodgers kept bringing (or re-bringing) players in, so it seemed like extension conversations were off the table.

But maybe all it took for Smith to reignite those conversations was two games and 10 at-bats in Seoul, when he hit .500/.545/.600 to try to make the Dodgers' Big Three at the top of the lineup into a Big Four. The home run he hit yesterday in the last game of the Freeway Series might've helped his case a bit too. The Dodgers need some power at their clean-up spot to follow Mookie Betts, Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman; Smith already has two 20+ homer seasons under his belt and just fell under that benchmark at 19 in 2023.

With this 10-year extension (which also includes something the Dodgers are becoming more and more familiar with — deferrals), Smith will be a Dodger until he's 38 years old. It all but slams the door on top catching prospects Dalton Rushing and Diego Cartaya's futures in LA, but the Dodgers clearly believe they have their man in Smith.