A.J. Ellis is one of several Los Angeles Dodgers who is eligible for arbitration and will likely be tendered a contract prior to the Dec. 2 deadline. However, Ellis’ status and projected role with the Dodgers moving forward is somewhat of an unknown.
The Dodgers were believed to have some level of interest in Russell Martin, who went on to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays. While they lost out on Martin, the Dodgers may not have to look any further than within their own division for another option at catcher.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the San Diego Padres have aggressively floated Yasmani Grandal’s name in trade talks:
Other teams say the Padres have gotten more aggressive in marketing catcher Yasmani Grandal in trade discussions.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 1, 2014
Grandal, also capable of playing first base, is coming off a season in which he’s played the most games just three years into the Majors. In 128 games, Grandal hit .225/.327/.401 with 15 home runs and 49 RBIs.
While his averages are less than what he slashed in 2012 (.297/.394/.469), which was his first year in the Majors when he appeared in 60 games, Grandal set career-highs in home runs and RBIs.
Although teams at times refrain from trading with their own division, the Dodgers and Padres could make the exception given each team’s desires. The Padres have reported interest in Matt Kemp and the Dodgers appear open to upgrading at catcher.
Comparatively, Ellis hit .191/.323/.254 with three home runs and 25 RBIs in an injury-plagued season that limited him to just 93 games. However, he was markedly improved in the postseason, batting .538/.647/.846.
While trading for Grandal would give them a younger player behind the plate, he tied for the lead with 12 passed balls and only threw out seven of 56 would-be base stealers (12.5 percent). Ellis allowed two passed balls and caught 16 of 64 baserunners (25 percent).
However, Grandal stacks up more favorably in terms of framing pitches, which may be of added value to the sabermetric-thinking Dodgers front office.