Dodgers re-sign catcher Ellis to one-year, $4.5 million deal

Despite not having the bat -- or the playing time -- of fellow Dodgers backstop Yasmani Grandal, A.J. Ellis proved Wednesday it pays to be the favored target of Clayton Kershaw, scoring a $4.5 million one-year deal.

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Catcher A.J. Ellis agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year contract to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration.

The 34-year-old Ellis has spent his entire major league career with the Dodgers, batting .241 with 35 homers and 178 RBIs over parts of eight seasons.

After playing extensively for three years, Ellis had a reduced role last season after Los Angeles acquired Yasmani Grandal, who had an All-Star season. Ellis played just 63 games, but improved his offensive performance over 2014 despite 102 fewer at-bats.

Ellis is a reliable defensive backup to Grandal, and he remains Clayton Kershaw’s preferred catcher.


Also Wednesday, the Dodgers non-tendered pitchers Juan Nicasio and Lisalverto Bonilla, who are both free agents.

Nicasio was 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA in one season as a reliever. The 29-year-old right-hander did not make the postseason roster. He earned $2.3 million last season.

Bonilla was claimed off waivers from Texas last month and the 25-year-old rookie wasn’t eligible for arbitration, although he was on the 40-man roster. He missed most of last season because of Tommy John surgery after pitching briefly in the major leagues in 2014.

The Dodgers tendered contracts to six players eligible for salary arbitration before Wednesday night’s deadline. They were pitchers Kenley Jansen, Luis Avilan and Chris Hatcher, third baseman Justin Turner, Grandal, and outfielder Scott Van Slyke.