A.J. Ellis hit just .191 this season and would likely get a raise to at least $5 million via the arbitration process, so there’s been some speculation that the Dodgers could part ways with the 33-year-old catcher.
Clayton Kershaw thinks that would be a mistake, telling Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
I don’t know what I’m going to do if he’s not back. I think we’d be losing a lot if we let him go. I know A.J. will land on his feet, but we need him here a lot. … “Just the tireless work that he does, it’s so selfless. It’s invaluable to know that what he’s putting down, there’s so much thought, so much work behind it. It gives me confidence to throw it.
That’s a very positive review of Ellis’ defensive value by the world’s best pitcher, but the Dodgers are no doubt wondering if he’s still capable of being the on-base machine he was from 2010-2012. He had a huge NLDS versus the Cardinals, but during the past two regular seasons seasons Ellis has hit .218 with a .638 OPS. Combined with his age, knee problems, and rising salary that could make it a tough call.
Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports that the Red Sox are nearing an agreement with pitcher Zack Godley. It is still unclear whether the contract will be of the minor or major league variety.
Godley, 30, was with the Tigers on a minor league contract but the club released him in early April. The right-hander pitched for the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays last season, amassing 92 innings with a 5.97 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio. Godley was quite solid for the D-Backs in 2017, posting a 3.37 ERA over 155 innings, so the Red Sox are hoping to see that version of him.
The Red Sox need starting pitching depth with Chris Sale out for the year due to Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodríguez sidelined because of a positive COVID-19 test. Collin McHugh is also still on the mend from an elbow injury. The starting rotation at the moment includes Nathan Eovaldi, Martín Pérez, Ryan Weber, and Brian Johnson. It is certainly the club’s biggest weakness.
The Red Sox open up the 2020 regular season at home against the Orioles on July 24. Eovaldi would seem to be the one to get the Opening Day nod. Godley could slot in anywhere else in the rotation, from No. 2 to 5.