The Los Angeles Dodgers have a blessing and a curse at the catcher position heading into the 2018 season. With Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes, the team employs two players that could start just about anywhere else.
Last season, Grandal took the lion’s share of playing time in the regular season; however, Barnes became the go-to man in October. Some believed that would lead to Grandal possibly being traded in the offseason but that wasn’t the case.
According to Andy McCullough of the LA Times, it appears that the duo will be a balanced attack this season:
Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes will split time at catcher, with Grandal likely to see most of the ABs against RHP, Dave Roberts said. So, basically, close to the status quo from the 2017 regular season.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) February 15, 2018
It is a bit surprising that it appears to be back to how things were with Grandal getting more of the starts behind the plate. The Dodgers may be counting on him to get his swing and timing right. One would believe that if Grandal struggles early on then Barnes may once again take over primary duties.
In 2017, Grandal logged over 200 more plate appearances than Barnes. He finished hitting .247/.308/.459 with 27 doubles and 22 home runs, while Barnes ended at .289/.408/.486 with 15 doubles and eight home runs.
Either way, the good news for the Dodgers is that they’re set behind the plate.