Veteran catcher A.J. Ellis is off to Florida as he signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.   

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball later confirmed Olney’s report. 

Ellis spent eight-plus season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, mostly as a reserve catcher and pinch hitter but also as a team leader and confidant for ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

But in August of the 2016 season, he was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies for veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz, who had spent 11 seasons in the city of brotherly love. 

While Ellis only batted .194 with the Dodgers last season, his loss was tough to take, per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times:

But with free agency looming this winter, his production would have made it questionable for the Dodgers to bring him back in 2017, especially if he were looking for the same kind of money while he was playing under a one-year, $4.5 million deal, per Spotrac

In 11 games with the Phillies to end the 2016 season, Ellis batted .313 with a home run and nine RBI on a team that is still in the process of rebuilding toward contending in the National League East. 

Now with his third different team in two years, Ellis is expected to come off the bench behind J.T. Realmuto. 

The 25-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in 2016, batting .303 with 11 home runs, 12 doubles, 48 RBI and a surprising 13 stolen bases. 

His defensive stats were just as solid, as he ranked first among all catchers in assists and tied for fourth with 28 caught potential base stealers.

Realmuto, though, will be working with some new names in the pitching staff as the Marlins brought on Edinson Volquez at the end of November as well as signing starter Jeff Locke on Wednesday, per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal

While Ellis won’t provide much on offense, as a veteran presence, he can help Realmuto get accustomed to a new-look rotation and provide much-needed relief when the developing star is in need of a day off. 


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