The San Diego Padres have to be thrilled with the level of productivity they’ve got from their veteran backstop. Will he draw any trade interest?
A.J. Ellis has never been known for his production at the plate. The 37-year-old came over to the San Diego Padres this past offseason, and has been an absolute godsend for this team and even more so for the young Friars’ pitchers.
With Austin Hedges missing a decent amount of time with elbow issues, Ellis stepped up big time on both sides of the chalk. Even now that Hedgie is back in the mix, Ellis is doing all he can to ensure he remains a part of this or any major league team for the foreseeable future.
Rafael Lopez and Brett Nicholas have both been doing their respective things at Triple-A El Paso, and Lopez played well during his time with the big club during Hedges’ absence. AJ Preller, Andy Green, and the rest of the Padres’ think tank must have mulled their options over a few times.
But A.J. Ellis would simply not fade away. The career .241/.342/.355 hitter, as noted above, has never listed .300-hitter on his business card. He’s always been known as Clayton Kershaw‘s personal catcher and as a solid backstop during his time in Philadelphia and Miami.
This season, he’s halfway to checking off that .300 box. Through 115 plate appearances (34 games), Ellis is hitting .319/.425/.404 with a 130 OPS+, and 0.7 wins above replacement.
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Ellis could very well draw interest
Not only has he been scorching hot with a bat in his hand, he’s been the consummate veteran catcher, getting the absolute best out of veterans like Clayton Richard and Tyson Ross, as well as the young Friars hurlers (Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, and the babyfaced killers in the bullpen).
If he continues to play at this level through the month of July, this writer wouldn’t be surprised if some postseason-bound ballclub given Preller a buzz asking about the 11-year MLB veteran.
Considering he signed with the San Diego Padres for a measly $1.25 million and is 37-years-old if the team gets a single call regarding Ellis, they should be all ears.
He’s done what he can for the squad, and seeing him win a ring during the twilight of his career is something we can all get behind. If the Padres can land a low-level prospect or something of the sort for the crafty vet, great.
Just don’t be surprised if we start seeing A.J. Ellis’ name being thrown around for a managerial position in a few years.