Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

A.J. Ellis heads to Phillies in Carlos Ruiz trade

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Interview: A.J. Ellis speaks about his departure from the Dodgers.

By Jon Weisman

In an exchange of catchers that will mark the end of an era in Los Angeles, A.J. Ellis has been sent to the Phillies in a trade for Carlos Ruiz.

Ellis, minor-league pitcher Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later or cash considerations will go to Philadelphia in exchange for Ruiz and cash considerations.

The 37-year-old Ruiz has a .368 on-base percentage and .352 slugging percentage (.323 weighted on-base average) in 193 plate appearances for the Phillies this year. He has been a tormentor of the Dodgers, with an .860 OPS in his regular-season career, while going 10 for 29 with two doubles, a homer, six walks and a hit-by-pitch in the playoffs against them.

Against lefties, Ruiz has consistently had an OPS above .800, including in 2016.

Both players have spent their entire careers with one organization — Ruiz signed with Philadelphia as an amateur free agent in 1998, while Ellis was drafted in 2003.

Ellis had a .340 on-base percentage and .348 slugging percentage in his 544-game Dodger career, dating back to 2008, plus a 1.065 career postseason OPS. This season, he had a .285 OBP while slugging .252.

Obviously, as I hope this piece showed, his presence was one to cherish.

Bergjans, a 2015 eighth-round draft choice, had a 4.98 ERA in 130 innings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.


A.J. Ellis talks about his farewell from Dodgers


Farm Fresh: August 24 minors highlights


A.J. Ellis talks about his farewell from Dodgers


  1. ah, this stinking business of baseball. AJ was one of us. One of the greatest guys. I am genuinely sad, not just for Kersh and the Dodgers, but for him. May God bless you AJ.

  2. I don’t understand it at all. Yaz is still going to be the starter so why not keep AJ. He is more important to the club in the work he does before games and in working with Yaz on the game plans

  3. paulgarzajr

    What is this about. . . one aging catcher for another? You gotta be kidding . . .another great move. Too bad they couldn’t add an injured pitcher from the Phillies.This is the Geniuses at their best. This is not time to be playing with the chemistry of the team. Do those Front Office Fools understand anything beyond their stupid numbers?

    • Paul…these front office fools/geniuses as you mockingly call them have the team in first place. So, what exactly is your complaint?

      • The players have themselves in first place.

      • paulgarzajr

        Have you been paying attention? This team is in first place only because their division is the weakest in the National League, maybe in MLB. This Front Office has spent a ton of money on pitchers who can’t pitch – either no longer have the ability and/or are hurt. Made some incredibly bad decisions on Cubans and I am not referencing aPuig. This team may still pull out a Division title – I hope so but that is still up for grabs. A few of their deals have worked. The long list of embarrassments include Jim Johnson, Latos, Wood, McCarthy, and now Anderson can be added to the list. Kazmir who has joined the disabled list has been mediocre at best. He was supposed to help offset the loss of Greinke and be the counter to not pursuing Cueto. There is a major difference in performance. Turn those two around and the Dodgers are cruising. The Dodgers have the biggest payroll in MLB by far and all you have is a team that is squeezing by thanks to the grit of their leadership: Turner, Gonzalez and Utley. This Front Office did not draft Cory Seager, Julio Urias, or Joc Pederson – the hope of the future. They inherited a Division winner when they came on board in 2014. Since then the Dodgers have been +2 and -2. This year they project out to 90 wins (-2 again). When you spend the kind of money the Dodgers do, you should expect a whole lot more. Three years into the reign of the Geniuses and the Dodgers are barely getting by. I do not consider that an excellent record.

  4. noooo! ellis bleeds blue!

    and hell no.
    this is so stupid. and it can’t make Kersh happy. this is almost as bad as letting Sciosca go to the Angels.

  6. This is shocking, I could understand AJ not being brought back next year, but why now, sure Ruiz numbers are better, but as some other here have brought up, his presence in the clubhouse made up for that. Let’s hope it doesn’t backfire.

  7. Not happy at all. Not one bit. Gut punch. He will be sorely missed.

  8. Paul their in first place because, the Giants are sucking ass

  9. Certainly not an elegant way to ease AJ out, and for the nemesis Cooch of all people! But, great trade.

  10. not a good move, I believe, a.j. is good, and the other guy is older and not as good, it does not make any sense to me

  11. Stinks stinks, stinks. Stupid and insensitive. We gave up Ellis and in return got nothing. A. J. is better on defense and in a poor offensive year, he has more RBIs than Philly Fats in considerably less at bats. And Ruiz is also 2 years older.

    Just plain dumb and horrible way to treat a true Dodger.

  12. Hey front office — sometimes it’s not about the numbers. I hope pulling someone of AJ’s knowledge and personality out of this WINNING clubhouse doesn’t come back to bite you …

  13. Hold on to your hats, next you will see Kershaw getting traded for Bartolo Colon in an even trade with the Mets…These people are a racking up as much DL players as they can.

  14. Considering he was who Kershaw preferred to catch for him. I am not sure why they had to trade him away. He could have caught less often

  15. Hey Dodger fans, don’t cry too much I get it Ellis was a fan favorite and meant a lot to the team in the clubhouse. In Philly Ruiz was the same guy, a consummate professional with no ego, a hard worker and a clubhouse gem especially for young players. I’m personally happy for Ruiz to have a chance at another title and welcome a guy like Ellis to the Phillies. Although Mr. Ellis got the short end of the stick on this one, I expect he will also be a professional about the circumstances judging by his history with the Dodgers. I also don’t expect him to be here long with two significant prospects already in the Philly system. That’s life in the Big Leagues.

  16. his whole career as a Dodger, and they trade him 37 games before the end of the season…?

  17. Eduardo, our bullpen is ranked #2 in all of baseball…that area is fine. This move beefs us up for the pennant race. I think we improved on talent, but this does worry me with Kershaw–those two are really close friends and have phenomenal chemistry.

  18. maura darcy

    I  will  miss  him  really

  19. atxnole

    This is a case where the FO is really making a big push to add just a little bit of quality which can turn things around in a pinch. As it stands, the drop off from Yaz to AJ was absolutely massive in terms of offensive capabilities. Ruiz is far more comparable to Grandal and will allow us to suffer a little bit less on those days Grandal needs a rest.

  20. leekfink

    I am not sure this is the smartest move. By the numbers, it’s good for us. But it doesn’t make sense for the Phillies. Why would they want an aging backup catcher as they make a run to the cellar? That describes Ruiz AND Ellis. So, wouldn’t if make sense for the Phillies to release Ellis once he reports? And frankly, once that happens, and the rosters expand to 40. . . .

  21. Ruiz is 37? I wonder if Friedman just disrupted the flow. If it is not broke don’t fix it. Starting pitching is what is need but I guess there are no broken down pitchers available. They must all be healthy. Is Ruiz the future?

  22. if the dodgers needed a cather why not lucroy when they had the chance to get him.what are the dodgers trying to do .tell” me”

    • Lucroy is a starter and none of know if they pursued him or not, perhaps the cost was too much to pay if so.
      I’m not a fan of this trade, but I can see that the Dodgers wanted a better backup catcher, and they may have done so.

  23. Paul. you do know that the Dodgers have a .583 winning percentage outside what you call the weakest division? While the club does have the biggest salary outlay in baseball, the FO is clearly trying to reduce that number, if only so that our signings don’t cost us 50% more than other clubs because of the luxury tax, while at the same time remaining competitive. I believe that they have done an admirable job.

    • paulgarzajr

      Mark, I guess we will respectfully disagree on that. I think their output is quite poor. They didn’t inherit a struggling team but a division champion and the team has not gotten better. It seems to me their failures cost Don Mattingly his job. BTW, Ruiz’s first major contribution tonight was a failure to block a Jansen pitch. Yes, it was a tough one but Ellis knows Jansen and would not have tried to backhand it. Bad fundamentals as Ruiz would tell you. Little things weigh mighty in the final games of the season.

      • Jon Weisman

        So getting on base three times is not a contribution? I mean, it’s a tough loss, but let’s be fair.

        • paulgarzajr

          Jon, I said major contribution. The three times on base was good to see. I am not anti-Ruiz but none of them produced a run. As I recall, Ellis was pretty good at drawing walks, as well. Isn’t that fair?

          • Jon Weisman

            So Ellis never allowed a wild pitch or passed ball?

            I don’t want to debate this but I mean …

          • paulgarzajr

            Come on Jon, don’t be obtuse. How important a play was it tonight? The simple answer is: very. Would Ellis have a much better feel for the break on Jansen’s pitches? I believe the answer is yes. Again, it is the little things that play BIG this time of year. Let’s hope Ruiz hits well and gets comfortable with the Dodger staff. He is a smart ballplayer. I give him credit for that.

          • paulgarzajr

            Jon, I am sorry if I offended you. It was not my intent and a poor choice of words. I do feel there is resistance to something that seems to me obvious. But, okay we can disagree. I recommend you read today’s piece by Ken Gurnick on MLB who makes the point more directly than I did. Wishing you the best and despite our disagreements want you to know that I enjoy your work.

          • Jon Weisman

            Thanks. I also feel there is resistance to something that seems obvious – and yes, I read Gurnick’s piece, which I linked this morning – but I understand we see things differently.

      • Paul – I understand your perspective because you obviously want the club to do better, but in doing so you seem to minimize their accomplishments. Sure, some divisions are weaker than others but to brush aside the Dodgers leading theirs on that basis seems a bit much. Moreover is the West really the weakest in the NL. Maybe, but they do have a .550 winning percentage against the East. (The Dodgers themselves are .620 against the East and almost .560 against the Central). The notion that the West is weak doesn’t seem to bother you when you parade out the fact that the current FO inherited a division winner. You cite the 2014 club as some sort of benchmark in measuring the current FO, but was that a sustainable team, either talent-wise or financially, being led by two high priced stars (Kemp and Hanley) on the downside of their careers?

  24. Jon Weisman

    Obtuse is an easy (and rude) word to throw around.

    You attempted to refute my point about Ruiz getting on base by saying “Ellis was pretty good at drawing walks as well,” regardless of which was more likely to do so in Friday’s game. My response to that was simply to reply in kind.

    I don’t know what to say about your notion that getting on base three times isn’t a major contribution in a game. That creates or extends three scoring opportunities for the Dodgers, one of which they converted, which should at least count as much as the run you’re holding against him.

    If you don’t think that getting on base three times in a MLB baseball game is a major contribution, let’s just agree to disagree and skip the insults. I think I’ve earned the right for that.

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