2023 Los Angeles Dodgers Player Reviews: Will Smith

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers boast one of the best catchers in baseball in Will Smith, who earned a first career All-Star Game selection during the 2023 season.

Smith has continued to improve and gain notoriety since becoming the Dodgers’ everyday catcher in 2020 but experienced some regression last year.

Smith finished the season batting .261/.359/.438 with 21 doubles, 19 home runs and 76 RBI. He had a stellar first half despite playing through a fractured rib.

The injury was not revealed until September, by which point he had fallen into a prolonged slump that began after the All-Star break.

Smith sustained the injury on April 30 after being hit by a pitch by St. Louis Cardinals starter Jake Woodford. It was an unfortunate turn of events as Smith had just returned to the Dodgers lineup after missing 13 games because of a concussion.

Even with the injuries, Smith still played in at least 125 games for a third consecutive season. He was one of only nine catchers last season to appear in at least that many games.

While Smith cooled down at the plate during the regular season, he turned it around during the National League Division Series by going 5-for-12 with a double, triple and two RBI in three games against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He went into the offseason among the group of Dodgers eligible for salary arbitration and avoided a hearing by agreeing to a one-year, $8.55 million deal.

That fell shy of projections made by MLB Trade Rumors ($9.3 million) and Cot’s Baseball Contracts ($9 million) but an increase nevertheless over Smith’s 2023 salary of $5.25 million. Moreover, Smith’s contract set an MLB record as the richest ever for a second-year arbitration catcher.

Will Smith 2023 highlight

On July 18, Smith went 4-for-6 with one double and one RBI en route to setting a season high in hits during the Dodgers’ 10-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

2024 outlook

Smith is going to remain the starting catcher for the Dodgers and will be eligible for salary arbitration again in 2025 before potentially becoming a free agent.

The Dodgers reportedly have not discussed a contract extension with the 28-year-old.

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