The Padres have signed catcher A.J. Ellis, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The agreement is a minor league deal, according to MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell (all links to Twitter). Ellis can earn at a $1.25MM rate in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.
The longtime Dodgers catcher is returning to the NL West after spending the end of the 2016 campaign with the Phillies and 2017 with the Marlins. Ellis hit .210/.298/.371 with six homers over 163 plate appearances for Miami last season, working behind A.J. Realmuto. He’ll now look to serve as Austin Hedges’ backup with the Padres, as Ellis will compete with Rocky Gale, Rafael Lopez, and Luis Torrens for the job.
Padres manager Andy Green said earlier today that his team was still considering adding veteran catchers and shortstops on minor league deals to compete for jobs in spring camp, so the Ellis signing checks one box off the front office’s to-do list. Ellis has far more experience than his competition, so he could have a leg up on Gale and company given Ellis’ ability to serve as a mentor to San Diego’s many young pitchers.