Dodgers nearing long-term contract extension with catcher Will Smith

In what’s been a week of uncertainty and speculation surrounding the Dodgers, the team was close to locking up some important long-term clarity Wednesday afternoon.

On the eve of their regular-season home opener, the Dodgers and catcher Will Smith are nearing a long-term contract extension that will reportedly be for 10 years and $140 million, ensuring a key piece of the club’s superstar core will remain in L.A. for a decade to come.

Smith, 28, has emerged in the last couple of seasons as one of the Dodgers’ best recent homegrown success stories. A first-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Louisville, Smith quickly ascended to the Dodgers starting catcher role upon making his MLB debut six years ago.

He was an integral piece of their 2020 World Series team (though was still splitting time defensively Austin Barnes that postseason). He has developed into one of the best offensive catchers in the game, culminating with a first All-Star selection last season.

His career .263 batting average, 91 home runs, 308 RBIs and .842 on-base-plus-slugging percentage have helped him rack up almost 15 wins above replacement, according to Baseball Reference. So too have the defensive strides he has made as the Dodgers’ everyday backstop, with the team raving about his improvements as a game-caller, pitch-framer and all-around reliable presence behind the plate.

Smith, who is the Dodgers’ cleanup hitter this year behind Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman, was slated to hit free agency after the 2025 season.

Now, he’ll be in the Southland much longer than that, becoming the latest star player to make a long-term commitment to a club at the height of its World Series window. and USA Today first reported the terms of the deal.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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