A.J. Ellis signs with Dodgers, avoids arbitration

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The catcher will make $3.55 million in 2014, and could potentially earn as much as $3.7 million.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Saturday signed A.J. Ellis to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. The catcher signed for $3.55 million. The team and Ellis exchanged salary figures on January 17, with Ellis seeking $4.6 million and the Dodgers filing at $3 million. This settlement comes in at shy of the midpoint of $3.8 million, but there are incentives in the deal as well.

Ellis can earn a potential $150,000 in bonuses: $50,000 for each of 110 and 115 starts, and $50,000 for 450 plate appearances. The catcher made 128 starts and had 505 plate appearances in 2013, and started 109 games with 448 plate appearances.

Ellis made $2 million in 2013 and with three years, 151 days of service time was eligible for salary arbitration for the second time. On January 6, I guessed a $3.1 million salary for Ellis in 2014. Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors projected a salary of $3.2 million.

Ellis hit .238/.318/.364 with 10 home runs in 115 games, and was third in MLB with a 44.4% caught stealing percentage, throwing out 28 of 63 runners attempting to steal.

Ellis, who turns 33 in April, spent time on the disabled list in 2013 with an oblique strain but in his two full seasons has been among the most durable catchers in baseball. He ranks fourth in MLB with 2,123⅓ innings and fifth with 237 starts behind the plate in 2012-2013 combined.

The Dodgers have signed five of six arbitration-eligible players, including Mike Baxter ($700,000), Drew Butera ($700,000) and Scott Elbert ($575,000) and Clayton Kershaw (seven years, $215 million). Kenley Jansen still has not signed. Ronald Belisario, who was also eligible for arbitration, was non-tendered by the Dodgers on December 2 and signed a one-year deal with the White Sox.

The Dodgers now have $243.225 million committed to 23 players in 2014.

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