A.J. Ellis, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, Juan Nicasio and Chris Heisey were all tendered contracts before the deadline, and must make a deal or go through the arbitration process. None are expected to sign anything more than a one-year deal in the process. On Tuesday, one of the aforementioned players became the first to reach a deal.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Dodgers agreed to a deal with Ellis:
aj ellis settles on 2015 deal with dodgers for $4.25M
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 13, 2015
Ellis sees a raise in pay from his $3.55 million in 2014, despite coming off his worst season in the big leagues. The 33-year-old hit just .191 with three home runs and 25 RBIs in 93 games. He missed time due to injuries and failed to find himself at the plate until the postseason. In the playoffs, Ellis became a different hitter to the tune of .538 in four games, including a home run. Not only did his offense suffer in 2014, but his defense was also below average. He threw out just 25 percent of baserunners after throwing out 44 percent in 2013.
Some believed the Dodgers could part ways with Ellis, but Clayton Kershaw made sure to publicly praise his battery mate. The Dodgers did acquire another catcher that could reduce Ellis’ playing time significantly when they received Yasmani Grandal in the Matt Kemp trade. It’s possible that Ellis could become a personal catcher for the reigning MVP and Cy Young award winner, while Grandal takes over a majority of the catching duties.
Ellis has one more year of arbitration left before becoming a free agent in 2016.