Ellis’s precise role remains to be seen, but it obviously will not be as a uniformed player. He’ll wrap up his playing career after spending parts of eleven seasons in the majors.
It’s at least a bit of a surprise to see Ellis hang up his spikes now. After all, he turned in 183 plate appearances of .272/.378/.344 hitting last year for the San Diego organization. As ever, he compensated for a lack of power with outstanding plate discipline and contact ability.
In his 2,303 total plate appearances in the big leagues, Ellis managed only 44 long balls and a .113 isolated power mark, but walked at a hefty 12.2% rate. He managed to be nearly a league-average overall offensive producer by carrying a 5.5% swinging-strike rate and offering at pitches out of the zone at less than a twenty percent clip. (Check the 2018 leaderboards in SwStr and O-Swing% and you’ll see how notable those figures are.)
Ellis finished out his career with the Phillies, Marlins, and Friars, but he will be remembered best for his longstanding tenure with the Dodgers — and, in particular, his relationship with the great Clayton Kershaw. The two shared the field for 829 total innings, even though most of Ellis’s nine seasons in Los Angeles came in a reserve role. When the end came for Ellis in L.A. in the middle of the 2016 season, the two friends were moved to tears. Ellis also had a rather notable run of postseason success for the Dodgers, turning in a .365/.450/.615 slash in 61 total plate appearances, though he never had a chance to play in a World Series.