Dodgers, catcher Will Smith agree to 10-year, $140 million contract extension: Source

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers’ billion-dollar offseason just got richer.

The Dodgers and catcher Will Smith are in agreement on a 10-year, $140 million contract extension, a league source told The Athletic. The deal, which is pending a physical, is expected to be announced as soon as Wednesday afternoon. It’s the longest contract for a catcher in major league history, according to MLB researcher Sarah Langs.

After spending more than $1 billion to free agents this offseason, the Dodgers have now totaled $274 million in contract extensions this winter, setting into place the club’s foundation for the foreseeable future. The deal reportedly includes deferred compensation, adding to the pile of nearly $1 billion in deferred money the club will owe a decade from now to the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Teoscar Hernández.

Smith has represented a logical extension candidate for the Dodgers for years, blossoming as a late first-round pick in the 2016 draft to become one of the best offensive catchers in the sport. Since his debut in 2019, Smith leads all catchers (min. 1,500 plate appearances) with a 128 wRC+ while producing an .840 OPS. And as the Dodgers pushed toward a window that is firmly open now with the additions of Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow, the 28-year-old Smith represented a piece that made sense to lock down.

The two sides hadn’t engaged in any discussions by the beginning of spring training, Smith told The Athletic, with Smith set to hit free agency after the 2025 season. Yet talks appeared to come together quickly, allowing the Dodgers to keep their backstop in the organization for the next decade.

Smith has answered several questions about his ability to stay at the position long-term, with coaches and front-office officials noting the strides he has made game-calling and commanding a pitching staff — an absence the club notably felt last summer when Smith missed multiple weeks due to a concussion.

The Dodgers, however, still have plenty of depth at the position within their system. Along with Austin Barnes (under contract through this season, with a 2025 club option), the club already has Hunter Feduccia and Diego Cartaya on its 40-man roster. Feduccia will likely debut at some point this summer while serving as a third catcher. Cartaya, a former consensus top-10 prospect in the sport, has seen his stock drop precipitously due to his history of back issues and his .656 OPS in Double A last season.

The organization also has a pair of catching prospects whose stock is going up in Dalton Rushing and Thayron Liranzo, each of which has popped up on prospect lists this winter.

Smith’s bat gives the Dodgers reason to believe in a 10-year commitment (which should also provide some luxury tax benefits), and that their catching depth could still be useful. Smith has some brief infield experience, potentially making him an option at the corners should he have to eventually move off catcher in the latter half of his contract.

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(Photo: Kirby Lee / USA Today)

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