Despite coming off a 94-win season and second consecutive NL West title, there were sure to be changes for the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the start of the 2015 season beginning. It began with the front office being overhauled with the additions of well-respected executives Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi.
Their tinkering and upgrading of the roster largely consisted of minor trades until the now-infamous third day of the Winter Meetings. The trade activity carried over into the following day (Dec. 11) when the Dodgers reportedly agreed to send Matt Kemp, $32 million and Tim Federowicz to the San Diego Padres.
While the Padres are receiving a catcher as part of the trade, it may not be the one they desired most. According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, the Padres asked about A.J. Ellis:
The #Padres asked about A.J. Ellis' availability in the Kemp deal but couldn't get him included. Kershaw + others might have led revolt.
— Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) December 12, 2014
As Brock notes, had Ellis been included, it may have led to unrest in the clubhouse — particularly with Dodgers’ ace having twice expressed public support for Ellis to return next season. Kershaw’s comments regarding the 33-year-old catcher came prior to Ellis being one of seven players tendered by the Dodgers.
Ellis battled two injuries last season that played a role in his subpar performance; however, he managed to bounce back in the playoffs to slash .538/.647/.846. Ellis’ inability to frame pitches well, which Friedman values, had some wondering if the new front office would hesitate to bring him back but Zaidi said they also value other areas in which Ellis excels in.
The Dodgers avoided arbitration with Ellis last year when they signed him to a one-year, $3.55 million contract and according to MLB Trade Rumors, he’s in line for a raise to $3.8 million in 2015.