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The Dodgers’ second-longest tenured position player will be staying in Los Angeles for at least another couple years.
On Sunday, the team agreed to a two-year contract extension with catcher Austin Barnes worth $7 million guaranteed, keeping the eight-year veteran under contract with the team through the 2024 season.
"They approached me a couple weeks ago [about an extension]," said Barnes, who was set to become a free agent this winter. "It just made sense. I wanted to be here. This is a great group of guys and I believe in what’s happening in this organization. So it’s great to be here for another two years."
Barnes, 32, was drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2011 and acquired by the Dodgers in 2014 before debuting in the majors in 2015. Since then, he’s been a constant presence around Chavez Ravine, largely as a backup catcher praised for his abilities behind the plate and presence in the clubhouse.
Though he is just a career .224 hitter with 28 home runs in more than 450 games, Barnes has posted a positive wins-above-replacement total in each of the last six seasons. His best season at the plate was in 2017, when he hit .289 while playing in a career-high 102 games.
Since then, he has been part of several different pairings behind the plate, forming partnerships with Yasmani Grandal, Russell Martin and, the last three seasons, Will Smith.
Barnes has been Clayton Kershaw’s most common battery mate over the last eight seasons, as well.
After Kershaw, the only other Dodger who has been with the team longer is third baseman Justin Turner.
This season, Barnes is batting .179 with four home runs and 12 RBIs, and is one the highest-graded pitch-framers in the majors, according to Baseball Savant.
"I’ve been a part of some special teams here," Barnes said. "I think that’s part of the future too. These teams are either World Series or nothing. That’s the kind of team I’d like to be a part of."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.