In 2020, we estimate that the Dodgers will pay out $236 million in salary. That’s 10% more than any other team in baseball except the Yankees, and over $40 million more than their closest National League competitor, the Cubs. The Dodgers have been big spenders for some time now, and one of the ways they’ve chosen to use their money is to ensure that every position on their roster is stocked with two capable big league players at the very least, and sometimes more than that. It’s not spoiling our upcoming Positional Power Rankings series to note that Los Angeles falls into the top half of every single position on our depth charts, and in the top five of six. Most of those positions are filled with well-paid veterans. The purpose of this piece is to investigate the one position on their roster that isn’t: catcher.
In fact, not a single likely Dodgers’ starter at catcher will be paid more than $1.1 million in 2020. Last year’s starting duo of Russell Martin ($20 million, $16.4 million of which was paid by the Blue Jays) and Austin Barnes ($575,000 in 2019, and $1.1 million this year) morphed, over the course of the 2019 season, into Will Smith and Friends. Although Martin and Barnes caught more games overall last year (61 and 52, respectively), 38 of Smith’s 45 starts came in the Dodgers’ last 57 games of the season, and he enters 2020 — whenever that begins — as the favorite to start the lion’s share of games this year. At 25, with less than a year’s service time under his belt, he’ll make $555,000 in 2020. Read the rest of this entry »