Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few seasons it’s been no secret how much Clayton Kershaw values having teammate and close friend A.J. Ellis behind the plate. Where as Kershaw entered the offseason with a minimum of four more years remaining on his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ellis’ future with the team was far less certain.

The 33-year-old catcher was limited by two injuries last season and as a result, largely struggled. He hit .191/.323/.254 in 93 games (347 plate appearances) and threw out just 25 percent of basestealers. Nonetheless, Kershaw strongly advocated for Ellis to return in 2015, which came to fruition when Ellis signed a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.

While Ellis enters another season with the Dodgers, what lies ahead is somewhat of an unknown when taking into account the addition of Yasmani Grandal, who excels in pitch framing. When asked if Ellis needs to be his personal catcher, Kershaw declined to answer and deflected the question to manager Don Mattingly, via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:

I don’t know,” Kershaw said. “That’s Donnie’s call. I love throwing to A.J. Obviously, I’ve had some success doing that.”

Kershaw added to his response by praising his former battery mates and Grandal:

I’ve had a lot of different guys come through here,” Kershaw said. “I’ve had a lot of good ones, from Russell [Martin] starting out to Rod [Barajas] and Dioner Navarro, and A.J. for a long time now. He comes with a great reputation, Grandal does, of being able to catch the ball and block the ball and stuff. It should be good.”

Mattingly is on record as saying he doesn’t support utilizing a personal catcher and that he wasn’t sure how the duties behind the plate would be split. Grandal played in 128 games for the San Diego Padres last season and is confident he’s fully recovered from a 2013 knee injury.

While Ellis struggled during the regular season, he was one of the few Dodgers who hit well once the postseason began. In four games against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division series, Ellis hit .538/.647/.846. For their part, both Ellis and Grandal have downplayed the situation with each placing more of an importance on the team’s success.

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Yasmani Grandal Discusses Trade To Dodgers


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About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

3 Responses

  1. Bob Rohwer

    Whatever Kershaw wants, Kershaw should get. He’s once in a lifetime. Donnie Baseball can be replaced.

    Reply
  2. Michael N. Norris

    Horse manure….Grandal played in 128 games but only 76 behind the dish. He is a terrible pitch blocker as he had 12 passed balls in those 76 games, and in 157 career games as a C he has 21…Get your facts straight. By comparison, AJ Ellis had 2 in 92 games and has only 22 for his entire 7 year career……If this guy is better than AJ other than for power with the bat, I cannot see it….

    Reply
  3. Michael N. Norris

    Look, I understand get young legs back there, but other than his so called skill at pitch framing, which I am sure we will all run out to the ball park to see, and the fact that he has more power. There is nothing special about Grandal…..His career BA is only .003 higher than AJ, and that because he hit .297 in his first short stint in the bigs. Last 2 years were not that good, and he hit .225 last year…sorry….not worth Matt Kemp

    Reply

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