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Dodgers to sign veteran catcher to record-breaking extension: reports

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After already committing to over $1 billion in contracts this offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spending spree is apparently still up and running.

The Dodgers and catcher Will Smith are reportedly finalizing a 10-year deal worth $140 million.

Smith’s contract will be the longest ever given to a catcher, surpassing the eight years that were given to Buster Posey, Joe Mauer and Keibert Ruiz (the San Francisco Giants used their club option on Posey to make it a nine-year deal).

It will also be the third-largest ever given to a backstop, behind Joe Mauer’s $184 million and Posey’s $167 million.

Smith made his MLB debut in 2019 and made an immediate impact, racking up a .905 OPS with 15 homers and 42 RBI in 54 games – in the abbreviated 60-game season in 2020, he slashed .289/.401/.579 in 37 games.

He finally became a full-time player in 2021 and has not disappointed. Since then, he’s hitting .262 with an .822 OPS, and was named an All-Star last season.

Since the beginning of the 2021 season, among catchers, he ranks second in home runs (68), RBI (241), OPS (.822), and on-base percentage (.356) and ranks third in total bases (650).

But he’s also shown to be solid behind the dish as well – out of 81 qualified catchers last year, Smith’s 1.91 pop-time was the 12th quickest, according to StatCast – although metrics don’t love his pitch framing, he ranks well as a blocker.

Will Smith catching

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The Dodgers already have Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow and Gavin Lux locked up for the long haul. Now that Smith is here to stay, it seems that the Dodgers will be a force to be reckoned with for a long while. Smith, Ohtani, Yamamoto and Betts are each locked up through at least 2032.

Smith will turn 29 on Thursday, which, outside the Dodgers-Padres series in Seoul, marks opening day for Major League Baseball.

Will Smith after HR

Reports say some money will be deferred, but it’s unknown how much.

Smith, a first-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Louisville, was set to hit free agency after the 2025 season.

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