After a strong showing down the stretch of the reason, the Phillies reportedly would like for veteran backstop A.J Ellis to return in 2017.
More from Phillies News
- How will Rob Thomson manage the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen in 2023?
- How Phillies’ Ranger Suárez is set to build on 2022 postseason dominance
- What can Philadelphia Phillies expect from Bryson Stott in 2023?
- 3 Reasons to get excited for Phillies’ Craig Kimbrel signing
- Phillies-Mets owners’ rivalry grows after shocking Carlos Correa deal
According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Phillies and 35-year-old free agent catcher A.J Ellis have mutual interest in a return for the 2017 season.
Ellis, mostly known for his feel for the pitching game and defensive efforts, also had an impressive 133 OPS+ in his short stint with the Phillies last season.
Ellis, acquired in the Carlos Ruiz trade to the Dodgers, is a career .238/.340/.351 hitter, but does owns a 7.6 career WAR in just 493 career starts.
Stark reports that the interest in Ellis is mutual, and that he would be an “unofficial coach” of sorts, as well as backing up whichever young catcher the Phillies roll with in 2017.
Ellis’s efforts were also felt with the pitching staff, which after his arrival multiple youngsters (Eickhoff, Thompson, Asher, Morgan) finished the year on a solid note.
Not Testing The Free Agent Market?
The mutual interest from Ellis’s side might come as a bit of a surprise. He’s a David Ross of sorts, and his presence alone has legitimate value to not just a pitching staff (or the best pitcher in baseball – Clayton Kershaw), but an entire ball club as well.
This should generate interest in Ellis around the league, but if he’s willing to return Philadelphia, with a roster that currently has no one penciled in to backup Cameron Rupp, and two young catchers in waiting (top prospects Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro), than it should be considered a solid move.
Some More Speculation
However, and this is just speculation on my part – I’ve discussed the possibility of the club trading Rupp (I know this would be going back on the depth I just addressed, but veterans and minor leaguers can always be had as well) – and could resigning Ellis entice the club a bit more to roll with (possibly) the prospect Knapp (who’s ETA was 2016) from the start of the season?
Ellis is currently not on the teams 40-man roster, so a corresponding move would be required. While nothing is done yet, we should be hearing more news soon.
Stay tuned to TBOH for all the latest!