Viewed as option 1A behind plate Barnes' role with the Dodgers this season is expected to lean more toward a timeshare than a traditional backup situation, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Impact Manager Dave Roberts suggested that both Barnes and Will Smith will play important roles behind the plate for the club this season, though he wasn't precise about how their playing time will shake out. "If you look at timeshare, I guess [Barnes is] a backup, but I don't see it as such," Roberts said. "I think it's a 1 and 1A. They're both very valuable, and I think that we've done a good job of using both of them and exploiting strengths and things to help us win baseball games." While Smith is clearly the more talented offensive performer, Barnes' ability to handle the pitching staff has allowed him to carve out a fair amount of playing time. The Dodgers often deployed Barnes behind the dish while slotting Smith at DH during the playoffs last season, but with the designated hitter out of the National League for 2021, that scenario is no longer an option. Smith is still expected to get the majority of the starts for Los Angeles, but he may not handle as large of a workload behind the plate as most everyday catchers.
MARCH 2 • ROTOWIRE