Dodgers Spring Training: A.J. Ellis Not Worried About Role
For the past few seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers could pencil in the same name at the catcher position: A.J. Ellis.
While he may still be penciled in at times this season, the Dodgers acquired a new catcher this winter that may take a majority of the playing time. When the team traded Matt Kemp and Tim Federowicz to the San Diego Padres, they received a pair of pitching prospects and switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal. Because of his superior bat and pitch-framing skills, many believe that Grandal will become the primary catcher.
According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, Ellis isn’t worried about his playing time:
A.J. Ellis: "I don't need a title of starting catcher or backup catcher. I just want to be a World Series champion catcher."
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) February 19, 2015
Ellis had his worst season in the Majors last year when he missed significant time due to injuries and managed to hit just .191 with three home runs. He redeemed himself in the postseason, hitting .538 in the four-game series. While last year could seemingly be blamed on injuries, Ellis has regressed at the plate the past four seasons and caused the Dodgers to look for a catcher this winter. Despite Ellis’ struggles, Clayton Kershaw clamored for Ellis to return based on his relationship with the 33-year-old catcher. Kershaw did not answer directly if he was expecting Ellis to be his personal catcher though.
Grandal is younger, hits for more power and is likely a better defensive option if his knee is completely recovered. At just 26 years old, he is definitely the catcher of the future in Los Angeles and if he can develop relationships with the pitching staff, then it would be expected that he receives a bulk of the starts.
Either way, the Dodgers enter the 2015 season with a much better duo behind the plate.
Dodgers FanFest – Yasmani Grandal