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Dodgers Backup Catcher Plans?

With the signing of Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the Dodgers need to find another spot on the 40 man roster.  Yency Almonte, Gus Varland, Bryan Hudson, and Ryan Yarbrough have all been subjected to DFA predictions.  Others are also including Austin Barnes as a possibility. Maybe in a trade, but not as a DFA (IMO).

As most here know, I am an unapologetic Austin Barnes supporter.  I am not advocating that the Dodgers do in fact move Austin Barnes, but are they going to send a 27 year old rookie catcher back to AAA?  I have never believed that a team moves their catcher mid-season.  Hunter Feduccia could be an adequate backup catcher, and is a clear option for LAD backup catcher for 2024.

Then again, the Dodgers will be unveiling multiple new pitchers on the Dodgers staff.  Who better to shepherd these pitchers into the Dodgers game plan than the catcher who has done it the longest?

I am not convinced that Hunter Feduccia will be a better hitter than Barnes, especially the 2nd half Austin Barnes.  Here is a snapshot of his 1st and 2nd half stats. It is remarkable what he can do once that BAbip got back to just above MLB average (.296).   If there is a team that can afford to hide a struggling offensive threat, it was the 2023 Dodgers, and it will be even more so in 2024.

 

 

But I am also not convinced he will be a better hitter this year.  This year seems to be as good a year as any to bring on a new catcher.  Hunter Feduccia looks to be someone the Dodgers can infuse and not lose that much, if anything.

The Dodgers are LH hitting dominant, and Feduccia will add to that.  He had good splits against RH pitching and acceptable splits against LHP.  But it is a long way from MiLB pitching to MLB pitching.  Just ask Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch.

I know that a common complaint about Barnes is his inability to throw out would be base stealers.  Last year at OKC, Feduccia threw out 21 of 143 would be base stealers, or 14.69%.  That is fairly pedestrian.  For his MiLB career he has thrown out 18.20 % of 478 would be base stealers.  Throwing out would be base stealers has not been a key strategy for the Dodgers.  It is more on the LAD pitchers than it has been on the catchers.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers do not have a Gabriel Moreno behind the dish.

I have been writing about Hunter Feduccia for two years now.  He was passed over in the 2022 Rule 5 draft.  The Dodgers protected him for the 2023 Rule 5 draft, but now have 4 catchers on the 40 Man.  It makes sense that the Dodgers would move one of Barnes or Feduccia.  It certainly seems that Feduccia has earned the right to be on the MLB roster, if not for the Dodgers, then for some other team.  There are pros and cons for both.  And while I do not think they should, Feduccia does have 3 option years.

There are teams that could use Barnes’ excellent receiving skills to work with their young pitchers.  At $3.5MM, he is very affordable for even the most tightfisted clubs.

I am fine whichever way they choose.  Just make a choice, and stay with it for the year.  If they in fact move one of them and not option Feduccia, that would also mean that the Dodgers will have to sign a AAAA catcher to hide in OKC just in case.

Another observation – Andrew Friedman has job security with the opt out clauses in the Ohtani contract. I also do not see Mark Walter walking away from ownership for the next 10 years.  With Ohtani under contract, the team has more value.  Why leave?

But there is one person who will be under very close scrutiny and will very much be on a hot seat…Dave Roberts.  IMO, they need to at least get to the WS, or Doc will be available to be hired by any of the other 29 teams.  The Dodgers may have to win the 2024 WS to save Doc’s job.  With as much as the team is committing to, much will be expected.

 

 

 

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Bumsrap

Teams ran more last year and it’s a thing now so 2024 will see more teams running more. Or as Badger sometimes says, running more more. If Barnes and Feduccia are viewed by the Dodger brass as weak hitters for 2024 then they might want to trade both and find a defensive catcher that can help control the running game.

Push Cartaya to AAA ball to replace Feduccia.

Other than Barnes difficulty in slowing opponents running game, I like him.

It would be nice if the Dodgers could compliment the expenditures they have already made with payroll reductions elsewhere and Taylor and Muncy are spots where this could happen.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bumsrap
Singing the Blue

Can’t trade Max. I promised him we wouldn’t.
Can’t trade CT. They just had a baby.

Hard to believe that with a payroll of almost 300 mil, the only salaries that would even make a dent if they were removed are the two you mentioned.

Heyward and Kelly can’t be traded until the deadline.
You could flip Margot for 8 mil.
You could trade Rojas for 4.3 mil.
You could trade Gonsolin for 3.3 mil.

There’s nobody else they would even consider trading who’s making over 2 million.

All of the above is penny pinching for a payroll that looks as though it will blow through the Cohen ceiling.

Singing the Blue

Normally, I’d be the first to raise my hand if someone asked if we should trade Barnes and move Feduccia into the backup role, however……………………….
we’ve just signed a pretty spectacular pitcher from Japan, who will not only have to adapt to a new culture, but also a different baseball and most importantly a whole league full of new hitters.

I would be astonished if AF would pick this season to get rid of Barnes, because his knowledge of hitters and his game planning may well be even better than Smith’s, and Feduccia has absolutely no experience in handling pitchers or calling games in MLB.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Doc moved out a year ahead of schedule if we don’t at least reach the WS this year. We just need to make sure Utley is ready to take over next year and is ready to come back from London.

Bluto

What is with this crazy Utley as a manger thing?

he has shown no ability or penchant for managing.
he has shown no interest in learning how to manage.
the team has shown no inclination to see how he would perform as a manager!

Bumsrap

I know. Remember when STB also wanted to make DeLuca into a third baseman?

Singing the Blue

That was way too good an idea to be mine.

Singing the Blue

When he was here as a player, he was a huge influence in the clubhouse.

He was known when he played as a guy who spent a lot of time studying and analyzing every facet of the game.

He was known as a very smart player (excellent baseball instincts).

No, he hasn’t announced to the world that he wants to manage some day, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t want to.

Please give me a short list of people the team has shown an “inclination to see how he would perform as a manager”. Is there a list posted online somewhere by AF?

Furthermore, if Bums can suggest we trade Max and CT three times a week, I should be entitled to suggest we appoint The Grey Fox as manager at least once a month.

Lastly, I accept your apology for calling my idea crazy. You can tell me you vehemently disagree and then list your reasons. But it’s absolutely crazy to call my idea crazy, based on my answers above.

Beyond lastly, thanks for commenting, even if you’re calling my idea crazy. It’s been too quiet around here for the last couple of days. At least you got my blood flowing.

Utley for Manager! (if Doc is no longer here – not suggesting he be fired)
Anyone else out there agree with me, or am I an island unto myself?

Last edited 2 months ago by Singing the Blue
Singing the Blue

Is this the “inclination” list?
If so, which Dodger minor league team did Doc manage in 2015, the year before he was named manager?

Bluto

This took five seconds to find:
Teams coachedLos Angeles Dodgers (Baseball Manager, since 2015), San Diego Padres (First Base Coach, 2010–2015)

Singing the Blue

Actually he was named bench coach in 2014 (that took me 10 seconds to find but I believe it’s more accurate): however, nowhere does he appear on a Dodger “inclination” list before he was hired by AF.

OK, enough back and forth.

Happy Holidays.

Bluto

So, we agree that neither Utley nor the Dodgers have shown any interest in seeing Utley in any managerial capacity?

Singing the Blue

I will agree that neither the Dodgers nor Utley have so indicated publicly; however, I have no idea what might have been discussed in private.

And even if nothing has ever been said or thought of, that still doesn’t mean that I can’t hope he’s named manager some day.

Just out of curiosity, if you had to replace Doc, who would your top two or three choices be?

Bluto

I gots no clue. But based on what I’ve read:
LIKE: Will Venable
LIKE: James Rowson
LIKEL Mike Bell

Singing the Blue

Venable is highly thought of in baseball circles.

Rowson has spent most of his coaching time as a hitting instructor. Spent a couple of years as Mattingly’s bench coach in Miami on a team that lost over 90 games. How that makes him qualified to manage the Dodgers I’m not sure.

Mike Bell – a fairly common name, but if you’re referring to David Bell’s brother he, unfortunately, passed away a couple of years ago.

Bluto

Yikes! Had no idea.

I have no idea what qualities a manager needs! I don’t know how much comes from the Front Office. How much comes from scouting staff, from pitching, bullpen and hitting coaches. From the analytical groups.

All I know is who the teams I admire interview when they have a vacancy. And those three names fit that bill.

Frank Howard

Roberts the Clown had no experience and it showed from day one through 2023. Friedman hires only “Yes” men. Like the orange orangutan.

Badger

Roberts the Clown?

Sigh

And talk of the orangutan does not belong here.

Badger

Utley slides out of the baseline. But he probably knows algorithms as he went to Long Beach Poly and UCLA and they teach math at both places. I think Utley would probably make a great manager but we don’t need a manager. With pitching on board now what we need is hitters to hit in post season. Ok, and maybe a third baseman. And a left fielder.

Singing the Blue

Roberts isn’t leaving this year. That discussion was based on future needs.

Utley was sliding out of the baseline because that was considered smart baseball…………………..until it was considered illegal. And he used that strategy so well they named the rule after him.

Badger

It’s ALWAYS been illegal. In fact, the rule reads if you do that after being put out, the runner closest to home will also be declared out. I’ve never seen it called at the Major League level.

Singing the Blue

Damn, I should know never to argue with an ex-ump.
Now I’ll never get Bluto to agree to let him be named manager.

Last edited 2 months ago by Singing the Blue
Badger

“Now I’ll never get Bluto to agree”

Probably. But keep trying.

Dionysus

Saving $3m by trading Barnes doesn’t make sense for a team spending $300m+.

Feduccia can have the job in 2025.

Frank Howard

I, and many others, wish the Dodgers would dump “Can’t hit the broadside of a barne” Barnes. Also Chris “Taylor made for striking out” Taylor and Max “Chunky Munky” Muncy. Muncy is an embarassment at third base and a 3-outcome hitter when we should be focused on hard contact.
We should be able to replace any of these weak players via trades.

Bluto

“many others”?

Bumsrap

How big of a barne are you referring to Frank?

Badger

Barnes is a good receiver and hit well enough in the second half. Taylor is a decent utility guy. Muncy is chunky, and he’s a minus defensive runs saved third baseman but he is a 3 WAR offensive hitter. I get Frank’s point, it would be nice to make improvements at every position, but those guys don’t hurt us that much.

Badger

Maybe this isn’t news but I read it this morning, Mike Flynn is the latest player to sign a Minor League contract with the Dodgers this offseason. The team has also added Daniel Hudson, Nabil Crismatt, Eduardo Salazar, Jose Cabrera, Austin Beck, Travis Swaggerty and Lolo Sanchez on Minor League deals. Perhaps Jeff can provide some meaning to these signings. Other than Hudson I don’t know these guys.

Badger

I knew I could count on you. Thanks Jeff.

OhioDodger

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Oldbear48

Merry Christmas Ohio!

Oldbear48

I would move on from Barnes. If someone wants him, make the deal.

OhioDodger

This spring training is going to be critical for Feduccia.

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