Chicago Cubs: Potential backup catchers for 2018
A.J. Ellis would continue the Cubs’ streak of adding veterans as their backup catcher. Ellis is 36 years of age and will be turning 37 prior to the 2018 season.
Throughout his carer, Ellis has been primarily a backup catcher, logging more than 100 games in a season just twice in a ten-year career. Despite that, Ellis has carved out a nice career and could still have something left in the tank.
Ellis’ best full season came back in 2012 when the 31-year-old was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 133 games, Ellis slashed .270/.373/.414 with 13 home runs and 52 RBI. Along with that, Ellis logged an OPS+ of 118 and clubbed a career-high 20 doubles.
Following Ellis’ best offensive season, things took a down-high turn in the years that followed. From 2013 to 2016, Ellis slashed just .221/.323/.330 with 22 home runs and 120 RBI. In conjunction with that, Ellis was a below average hitter in that span, recording an OPS+ of just 84.
After joining a new team for the 2017 season, the Miami Marlins, Ellis continued to trend downward with the bat. In 51 games, the aging backstop slashed .210/.298/.371 with six home runs and 14 RBI.
While the last couple of seasons have not been kind to Ellis, the veteran does have value at the plate. For his career, Ellis owns a .337 OBP and is just seven percent below league average in OPS+. What that means is despite not always getting hits, Ellis has found a way to get on base at a solid clip.
Throughout his career, Ellis has amassed over 4,700 innings behind the dish. In that time, Ellis owns a fantastic .997 fielding percentage as the veteran has committed just 15 errors in his career.
Despite that, Ellis is below average when it comes to defensive runs saved. Currently, Ellis has saved -16 runs, well below league average. However, Ellis has proven over the years that he has a good arm. Ellis owns a 33% caught stealing rate, with that number topping out at 45% in 2015. That 33% is five percentage points higher than the league average caught stealing percentage of 28%.
Overall, Ellis would be a cheap option to hold down the backup role moving forward. The veteran would likely cost less than $5 million and would bring an experienced presence to the clubhouse.