For all of the big names on the star-studded and expensive Los Angeles Dodgers roster, catcher A.J. Ellis is one of their most important players.
The Dodgers avoided arbitration with Ellis Saturday morning. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the deal:
#Dodgers avoided arbitration with A.J. Ellis. He will make $3,45M in ’14. Plus: $50K for 100/115 starts, 450pa. Asked for $4.6M, LA bid $3M
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 1, 2014
Ellis, who will be 33 years old when the season starts, has been with the Dodgers for his entire career. He truly asserted his value in 2012, when his work in 133 games was good for 3.7 fWAR. His offensive production declined slightly in 2013, but his 2.2 fWAR in 115 games was still good for a top-10 mark in all of baseball.
Even in a down season Ellis packed more pop at the plate than most catchers, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 52. Perhaps most important is the familiarity he has with the Dodgers pitching staff and how to handle the bright lights that now shine on the Dodgers.
Teams overvalue intangibles from time to time, but in the case of a high profile team like the Dodgers, an understated player like Ellis can be just as important as the guys who make the headlines.