Clayton Kershaw campaigned heavily for the Dodgers to keep A.J. Ellis amid rumors that he might be a non-tender candidate after hitting just .191 last season. They listened, retaining Ellis for $4.25 million even after acquiring young catcher Yasmani Grandal from the Padres.
It’s unclear what type of time-sharing arrangement the two catchers will have this season, but manager Don Mattingly made it clear that Ellis will not serve as Kershaw’s personal catcher.
When asked about that, Kershaw told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he “loves to throw to A.J.” but it’s “Donnie’s call.”
Grandal is a switch-hitter and Ellis is a right-handed hitter, so a straight-up platoon could work and would give Grandal about two-thirds of the playing time behind the plate. Whatever the case, after averaging 433 plate appearances per season from 2012-2014 Ellis is in line for a major reduction.
Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar, who ranked as one of the elite prospects in baseball before missing all of last season with a shoulder injury, is now in danger of missing a second consecutive season following news that he needs surgery.
Profar initially opted for rest and rehab instead of going under the knife, but now T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that a recent MRI exam showed “increased strain on the subscapularis muscle in his right shoulder.” There’s no official recovery timetable yet, but obviously it’s not good.
Profar debuted for the Rangers in 2012 as a 19-year-old, after which both Baseball America and MLB.com rated him as the No. 1 prospect in baseball. He then played 85 games as a 20-year-old rookie in 2013, but now his future is very much in question and Texas’ incredible injury woes are carrying over to another year.
Pedro Alvarez and the Pirates went through with an arbitration hearing over a gap of $500,000 and the ruling was in favor of Alvarez.
That means he’ll be paid $5.75 million this season compared to the team’s $5.25 million counter.
Alvarez is shifting from third base to first base following extreme throwing problems and also looking to bounce back offensively after hitting just .231 with 18 homers and a .717 OPS in 122 games last year.
Ryan Raburn had a rough 2014 season, hitting .200 while spending lots of time on the disabled list, so naturally now he’s in The Best Shape Of His Life:
Add another name to the list!
In a late addition to the coaching staff, the Marlins have hired Lenny Harris as their new assistant hitting coach. He’ll work alongside hitting coach Frank Menechino.
Harris played for the Marlins during their run to the World Series in 2003–manager Mike Redmond was also on that team–and is MLB’s all-time leader in pinch-hits. He managed to stick around in the majors for 18 seasons despite a career .269 batting average and .667 OPS.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill specifically mentioned that the team hopes the 50-year-old Harris can help prepare pinch-hitters for late-game opportunities off the bench.