The Los Angeles Dodgers have announced they have tendered the contracts of AJ Ellis and Drew Butera, Dee Gordon, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Juan Nicasio and Chris Heisey. They also re-signed Darwin Barney to a 1 year contract worth $2.5 million.
AJ Ellis was the Dodgers starting catcher last season but struggled to stay healthy all year. He batted .191 with 3 home runs and 25 RBI but posted a .323 OBP and he is loved by the pitching staff. Ellis did start to hit in the postseason, batting .538 with a home run in 13 at bats, so the Dodgers are hoping he can continue that success.
Drew Butera spent most of the season as the Dodgers backup catcher. He is a defense-first catcher who will provide depth at a very thin position for the Dodgers. Last season he hit .188 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI.
Dee Gordon enjoyed a breakout season for the Dodgers last year. He went to his first All star game and lead Major League Baseball in stolen bases with 64. Gordon hit .289 with a .326 OBP while scoring 92 runs out of the lead-off spot for the Dodgers.
Justin Turner is another player who had a breakout year for the Dodgers. After being released by the New York Mets last off season, Turner agreed to a one-year, one million dollar contract with the Dodgers. Turner became a very valuable pinch hitter and backup infielder for the Dodgers, batting .340 with 7 home runs and 43 RBI in 288 at bats.
Kenley Jansen has become an elite closer for the Dodgers after being converted from a catcher just a few years ago. His cutter is often compared to Mariano Rivera’s, but Jansen throws his in the upper 90’s. Jansen posted a 2.76 ERA with 44 saves, 101 strikeouts and only 19 walks. Jansen was one of the few relief pitchers the Dodgers could trust last season.
Juan Nicasio was acquired from the Colorado Rockies for aplayer to be named later or cash considerations. Nicasio has struggled over the last few years with a career ERA of 5.03 but that was at Coors Field and he improved when the Rockies placed him in the bullpen. Nicasio averaged 94 MPH on his fastball after he was placed in the bullpen and he had 17 strikeouts to only 5 walks. The Dodgers need bullpen help and he could be an effective reliever.
Chris Heisey was acquired today from the Cincinnati Reds for Matt Magill. The Dodgers cited his positive zone rating and his 4 pinch hit home runs in the press release. Heisey is a good defensive outfielder with the ability to play all 3 outfield spots. Heisey has hit .247 in his career with 50 home runs and 147 RBI.