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Austin Barnes signs with Dodgers, avoiding salary arbitration, per reports

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Barnes will get a reported $4.3 million over two years.

World Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Six Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dodgers on Sunday signed catcher Austin Barnes to a two-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration. The deal, which takes Barnes through his final two arbitration years, was reported by Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic and Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The two sides exchanged salary figures on January 15, with Barnes filing at $2 million and the Dodgers filing at $1.5 million. Had they not agreed to this contract, they would have gone to a hearing on Tuesday per the Associated Press, with a three-person arbitration panel picking one salary or the other.

In my previous of Barnes’ arbitration, I guessed the Dodgers would win a hearing, but that reaching a deal like this was preferred:

The best solution for all parties is probably a modest two-year deal to cover both of Barnes’ remaining arbitration seasons. Maybe something like two years, $4 million.

Barnes had a $1.1 million salary in 2020, which was pro-rated to $407,407 in the 60-game season.

Barnes hit .244/.353/.314, a 94 wRC+ during the regular season, his best offensive performance in three years. Barnes started 27 games behind the plate during the regular season, then started eight of the Dodgers’ 18 postseason games. He ramped it up during in October, hitting .320/.393/.440, including three multi-hit games in the postseason and a home run in the World Series.

In the Dodgers’ three World Series trips in the last four seasons, Barnes started 15 of the 18 games.

Barnes has incentives that are triggered if he plays in 70 and/or 80 games in each season of the contract. As a comparison, Barnes played in 102 games in 2017, 100 games in 2018, and 75 games in 2019. He played in 29 games in the truncated 2020 campaign, which extrapolates to 78 games over a 162-game season.