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.