LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday that he hasn't yet decided how to divvy up the playing time behind the plate, with newcomer Yasmani Grandal likely to take the bulk of playing time from incumbent A.J. Ellis. But Mattingly did praise the former Padres backstop, now with Los Angeles.
"Yasmani was a guy who, at the end of the year we didn't really like being up there with runners in scoring position. He's got big upside on offense," Mattingly said. "We feel really comfortable with him behind the plate."
Grandal, 26, hit .225/.327/.401 with 15 home runs and 58 walks in 128 games with the Padres in 2014, though hit just .181/.276/.324 with runners in scoring position after an OPS above .800 in such situation in his first two major league seasons.
Ellis, who turns 34 in April, signed a $4.25 million contract for 2015 on Tuesday, avoiding salary arbitration.
Thanks @Dodgers fans for the outpouring of positive responses to today's news. Honored and excited to be a part of this team.— AJ Ellis (@AJEllis17) January 14, 2015
Mattingly did say Wednesday that in general he doesn't like the idea of personal catchers, an idea that he has also expressed in the past. Though in practice it has sometimes worked out otherwise, like with Matt Treanor catching 17 of Chris Capuano's 33 starts in 2012, or Drew Butera catching 13 of 20 Josh Beckett starts in 2014, including long stretches of consecutive starts for each pair.
But that doesn't necessarily mean Ellis catch every Clayton Kershaw start, nor does it mean Ellis will be limited to those starts for his playing time. But however the workload behind the plate is distributed, Mattingly doesn't foresee any problems.
"What makes it easier for me is dealing with A.J.," Mattingly said. "Talking with A.J. yesterday, knowing that could be a sticky situation, his first response was, 'I just want to win.'"