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.