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Dodgers

Dodgers sign Scott Alexander and Austin Barnes, part ways with Yimi Garcia

Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes stands on the field.
The Dodgers signed catcher Austin Barnes to a one-year deal before baseball’s nontender deadline Monday.
(Joe Sargent / Getty Images)

The Dodgers did not tender a contract to right-hander Yimi Garcia, making him a free agent, while signing left-hander Scott Alexander and catcher Austin Barnes to one-year deals before Monday’s nontender deadline.

The club tendered contracts to the other nine players eligible for arbitration — Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, Pedro Baez, Kiké Hernández, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor, Ross Stripling and Julio Urías. The Dodgers can negotiate contracts with those players to avoid going through arbitration later in the winter.

Garcia, 29, is coming off his first full season in the majors. He made 64 relief appearances, pitching to a 3.61 earned-run average across 62 1/3 innings. He posted an elite 0.866 WHIP, but allowed 2.2 home runs per nine innings. He did not make the postseason roster.

MLB Trade Rumors projected Garcia would have made $1.1 million through arbitration.

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Barnes came to terms on a$1.1 million contract. Alexander signed for $875,000. Both deals are guaranteed, an unusual step for contracts executed to avoid arbitration.

Seventy-two years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, the Dodgers had zero African American players in 2019, and there were only 68 throughout MLB.

Barnes, 29, was the Dodgers’ opening day catcher but struggled offensively, continuing his troubles since his breakout season in 2017, until he was optioned to triple-A Oklahoma City in late July and lost the starting job to rookie Will Smith. Barnes returned in September but started just one game, totaled six plate appearances. He was left off the postseason roster. Barnes batted .202 with five home runs and a .633 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 242 plate appearances.

With Russell Martin on the free-agent market, Barnes is currently projected to serve as the backup catcher behind Smith next season. Top prospect Keibert Ruiz may play a role and the Dodgers could also acquire catching depth this offseason.

The 30-year-old Alexander compiled a 3.68 ERA in 28 games before going on the injured list with left forearm inflammation in June. He missed the remainder of the season and underwent nerve decompression surgery on the forearm in September.


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