Austin Barnes agrees to two-year deal with Dodgers to avoid arbitration

Catcher Austin Barnes celebrates with the Commissioner's Trophy after the Dodgers' World Series win.
Catcher Austin Barnes celebrates with the Commissioner’s Trophy after the Dodgers’ World Series win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Oct. 27.
(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

The Dodgers and catcher Austin Barnes agreed on a two-year, $4.3-million contract Sunday, avoiding an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Barnes is the last of the Dodgers’ eight arbitration-eligible players to settle on a deal before a hearing. The deal will buy out his final arbitration year before he reaches free agency after the 2022 season.

The contract includes a $1.8 million base salary in 2021 — $300,000 as a signing bonus — and a $2.5 million base salary in 2022. It also has escalators based on games played in 2021 and performance in 2022 that could raise the total value of the contract another $400,000.


The 30-year-old Barnes will continue as the Dodgers’ No. 2 catcher behind Will Smith, though his defensive skills could warrant him more playing time than the typical backup catcher.

In October, Barnes started eight postseason games, including four of the six in the World Series, and was behind the plate for the final out to clinch the championship. He batted .244 with one home run and a .667 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 104 regular-season plate appearances over 29 games. He went eight for 25 with a home run and three walks in 10 playoff games.

The Dodgers are keeping hometown hero Justin Turner for at least two more seasons, and the deal made too much sense for both sides to not happen.

Feb. 13, 2021

Barnes was one of the Dodgers’ two arbitration-eligible players who didn’t come to terms on a contract before the Jan. 15 deadline to exchange arbitration figures for a hearing. Right-hander Walker Buehler was the other. He signed a two-year, $8 million contract last week.

Center fielder Cody Bellinger ($16.1 million), shortstop Corey Seager ($13.1 million), left-hander Julio Urías ($3.6 million), right-hander Corey Knebel ($5.25 million), left-hander Scott Alexander ($1.1 million), and right-hander Dylan Floro ($975,000) agreed to one-year deals to avoid arbitration. Floro was traded to the Miami Marlins on Friday.