It’s Time To Give A.J. Ellis a Chance

I hardly need to link you to all of the posts I wrote over the winter saying that a catching duo of Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro wasn’t going to work, right? Shockingly… it hasn’t worked. Over the last few weeks, they’ve been largely sharing the role, and they’ve combined to put up remarkably similar lines.

Last 30 days
Barajas: 61 PA  .172/.200/.259 (.459)  2 doubles 1 homer 14/2 K/BB
Navarro: 60 PA .161/.203/.196 (.400) 2 doubles 0 homer 11/3 K/BB

Eerie, isn’t it? The only thing that’s giving Barajas any sort of boost in the SLG department is that one dinger, but if I’d waited a few more days then even that would have been outside the 30-day window; it came way back on May 13. What should really stand out there is not that the two catchers have been putting up the same numbers, but that each set of numbers is atrocious. It’s hardly just over the last month, because the season stats tell the same tale. The 35-year-old Barajas is hitting just .213/.251/.372, unable to match even his modest career line of .237/.282/.410. Navarro has been even worse, at .176/.233/.250, continuing his total career flameout since a quality 2008 in Tampa. Neither one ranks within the top 30 catchers by OPS (min. 70 PA); Navarro slots at 42nd of 44. By just about every offensive statistic other than home runs, the Dodgers have the worst hitting catchers in the National League, and their combined OBP of .264 is worse than every team in the majors except for the Twins, who have been without the injured Joe Mauer for much of the season.

And we knew this wouldn’t work. We were aghast that Barajas got over $3m based on one good week after over a decade of mediocrity. I liked the idea of signing Navarro as a low-cost lottery ticket in hopes that the former top prospect could rebound – that’s just smart – but hated the idea that he was given a major league deal for $1m rather than the non-roster invite he deserved. (Let’s pause here for a moment and stop anyone who wants to start the “should have kept Russell Martin!” bandwagon; though he got off to a good start, he’s hitting .196 since April 27 and has missed most of the last week with a back injury.)

Neither one has worked out, and it’s time to make a move. The answer is clear: DFA Navarro and recall A.J. Ellis. Ellis is no more likely to add power than Dee Gordon is, but he’s an absolute on-base machine. In parts of nine minor league seasons, his career OBP is .402; it’s been .400 or better for four seasons in a row and it hasn’t been below .380 since 2005. In 119 AAA PA this year, it’s at .470, and that’s what happens when you have a 8/23 K/BB ratio. That’s a number which would be insane, if not for the fact that he’s on the plus side of that ledger over his entire career (268/309). He’s seen bits of bit-league time over the last two years with injuries to Martin, Brad Ausmus, and Navarro, and in small sample sizes he’s managed to retain that skill – .371 OBP, 20/18 K/BB, in 147 2010-11 PA. Don’t forget, he was also the hottest Dodger hitter in Sept/Oct last year, hitting .417/.533/.500. There’s no question at all that Ellis is the superior option right now.

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because I raised a similar concern in February, asking if Navarro really should be guaranteed a job:

So tell me, why is it that Navarro has a $1m contract for 2011, while Ellis has bus rides around the PCL to look forward to? Because of that one good year? That fluke year also isn’t fooling the latest iteration of Baseball Prospectus‘ PECOTA projections, pegging Navarro for .243/.304/.336  and Ellis at .256/.364/.321. The numbers just don’t support it, and that’s without even questioning the off-field issues brought up by Navarro refusing to remain with the Rays in the playoffs last year after not making the roster. It’s also without bringing defense into the equation, as that’s notoriously hard to evaluate for catchers, though it should be noted that Ellis has a very good repuation, and the DRaysBay quote above wasn’t exactly glowing towards Navarro. (Update: after this went up, BP colleague and DockOfTheRays blogger Jason Collette added, “enjoy that hot mess behind the plate.” So there’s that.)

Ellis would be an improvement over Navarro right now, but let’s be clear that this is more than about making an incremental change to win ballgames today. The 30-year-old Ellis is hardly a savior, and he alone isn’t going to make the difference between last place and the playoffs. However, since this is his last option year and the other two are here on one-year deals, he’s also the only one likely to be a part of the 2012 club.

So what are the reasons to not do it? Ellis is a righty while Navarro is a switch-hitter, and having a switch-hitting catcher can indeed be a valuable piece. Of course, since Navarro can’t hit, it hardly matters what side of the plate he’s standing on when he whiffs or weakly grounds out. There’s also the issue of depth, because if Barajas or Ellis were to then get hurt, you’re down to JD Closser. That’s a valid concern, but I’m not as worried about it as you’d think; Closser would hardly be worse than Navarro, and as we’ve seen with Jay Gibbons and Juan Castro lately, terrible players get DFA’d for a reason. It’s more than likely Navarro would just end up in ABQ anyway.

Ellis has earned the chance to play in the big leagues. Having him here would improve the team right now, even if it’s only ever so slightly, and it would help identify what kind of role he can play in years to come. Navarro has earned the right to lose his job. Let’s make a move.

0 comments

Trackbacks

  1. [...] the week or so since I wrote that Dioner Navarro should be DFA’d and Ellis recalled, Ellis has gotten on base eight times [...]

  2. [...] the entire season, and that combined with indifferent defense had us calling for him to be gone by early June, when Navarro’s OPS had sunk to a lowly .483, with no indication he deserved a spot on the [...]

  3. it there, their, or they’re?). they must…

    proofread the final document before turning it in.one serious problem in college writing, and even in high school, is the temptation to plagiarize. too many students are tempted by the increasing availability of papers for purchase from online sources….

  4. to make it attractive, i suggest that…

    you offer interesting information. these include your name, your areas of expertise, proofs of your success in your field, and the link to your blog, website, and facebook.next step is to visit the top 10 forums on a daily basis. you’ll…

  5. results not only in big spikes of…

    traffic when the article goes live, but also trickles of traffic if that blog post starts ranking for certain keywords in the search engines. plus, if you write good articles and can get a regular column, you can become an established…

  6. site says:

    a niche about which you feel passionate….

    let’s examine a handful of them.do what you lovefirst, if you love your niche, you’re far more likely to create content that will appeal to readers. if you know and care about a topic, you’re less likely to produce factually inaccurate…

  7. site says:

    right plugins, linking to other interesting blogs,…

    keeping up with the latest blogging trends and making sure your blogging software is up to date. additionally you have to get people to actually read your blog by promoting it somehow, maybe by commenting on other people’s blogs or participating…

  8. click here says:

    past posts like what you wrote, they…

    are more likely to read your new post and re visit your site. the same is advised if you have a facebook fan page. interacting regularly with other pages creates a friendship that will help you to ‘go places.’as for the…

  9. click here says:

    email and set up a framework -…

    could be a recorded call to turn into a podcast, could be a set of written questions. great way to get associated with others and network with them to benefit you both. trending topic: this can be a highly effective way…

  10. keep it simplekeeping your posts simple is…

    the easiest way to keep your message clear and on-topic throughout.this is easier said than done. for a really compelling blog post, it is vital that you set out the premise as early as possible, keep reminding the reader of that…

  11. business; • feedbacks given by previous users;…

    • number of clients the company has served; and • some of their success stories in dealing with the customer and web promotion.size of the company and guarantee offered by itother major considerations in selection of the best seo article writ…

  12. up with 4 ideas, and the post…

    was getting long. what would you add to this list? search engine optimization has changed significantly since the early days of the internet. titans of the web search community, such as google and bing, continue to refine their methods of effective…

  13. requires critical thinking with ideas and supporting…

    detail clearly expressed, all grammatically correct at the time it is turned in. students need to learn, while still in middle and high school, to use both spell-check and grammar-check, but understand that the computer does not catch all errors (is…

  14. to write good content you need to…

    have patience and have an overall knowledge on what you are writing about. write what you are interested in, or passionate about, this way you can enjoy what you are writing and this will keep you writing for time to come….

  15. visit site says:

    than someone else’s content. never allow yourself…

    to be placed in a box. your ideas need to be truly compelling to other people.you have the poweras a content writer, you have a tremendous potential to influence other people. the more valuable information you share with other people on…

  16. giving a sense of security and stability…

    for customers are important. “business” blogs are an investment in time.however, this investment can be paid off through increasing sales, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. being responsible to customers comments and work to improve a sense…

  17. website by using dialogue. most search engines…

    nowadays are going after fresh, unique and authoritative articles. and where do we get most of these articles? yes, on the blog sites. numerous blog sites today are competing not only for greater ranking but also to become the leading sites…

  18. my blog says:

    that the reader would easily understand. write…

    like you are just talking to a friend. this will make internet search engines give you high marks and help the site visitors make sense of your article. the key that we are to remember here is readability. great seo writing…

  19. different clients, for which you are paid…

    money. if you are a good writer, this is an excellent avenue to making extra cash, or even making a decent living. there are several sites where clients or editors will rate your work, and the higher your ratings get, the…

  20. educate. irrelevant posts don’t usually find takers.your…

    blog articles should also cater to the reader’s needs and provide information they can identify with or relate to. the blog posts must be able to address or answer the questions, problems, issues and queries faced by the target audience.thought provok…

  21. Click Here says:

    the head of the people who will…

    search for your site. what words will they enter in the search box? once you’ve identified what you think they’re likely to look for, do a bit of double-checking by finding out the popularity of the searches you’ve identified as well…

  22. instruction, your mlm post would need to…

    be much longer, possibly 1,000 words.rambling on for the sake of content is never a good idea. once you have gotten the main point across to your mlm readers, its time to stop. ending your post with a sentence that reviews…

  23. doorbell fon says:

    on the faces because they don’t provide…

    anything new to think about or discuss. a great way to drag in audience is to write on topics that are relevant, timely, fresh, exciting and engaging at the same time.a blog writer should push her readers a little bit every…

  24. signs of low vitamin d…

    I do enjoy the way you have framed this situation and it does indeed provide me a lot of fodder for thought. However, because of everything that I have seen, I simply hope as other reviews stack on that people remain on point and not get started upon a…

  25. one downpour of rain. hockney was alert…

    to the moment the blossom would appear. he called it action week. he would instantly be out to paint with urgency. so must story-writers capture the opportunity that the creative imagination presents – whether that be a thought that comes during…

  26. body cleanse is good, clean water. sip…

    water all day long. set a water consumption goal. increase it daily until you are drinking a healthy amount. an average sized woman needs about 70 ounces of water daily. drink more if you’re physically active.nature has provided all you need…

  27. click here says:

    local dating…

    Hey there! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this problem. If you have any…

  28. blog, various factors have to be considered….

    one factor that many ignore is the design. google is now including good coding and design into their algorithm so having a great design can really help improve your traffic.why it’s so importantsome may say that design is not that important…

  29. blogs and get a name in your…

    niche. e-mail a bunch of blog owners in your niche and ask them if they are interested in having a guest post from you. if they e-mail you back then they are most likely interested. keep in mind that not everyone…

  30. that is imperative to the success of…

    your blog is giving authentic information on your site. you have to make sure that every piece of information that you put on your site is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge. it is also important to include…

  31. that most people remember is the quality…

    of the article, how helpful it was to them, and how easy it was to read. if all the articles that are submitted under your name are that type of article, then that is what people will remember, and it will…

  32. can come in different designs. choose one…

    that features brass materials as it is easier to manage and look beautiful. it also does not succumb to wear and tear easily. check out the inside of the pocket compass for intricate details. it should be engraved or have minute…

  33. business perspective, blogs are as important as…

    any written communication in relation to a business’s reputation.to put it another way, if you don’t pay attention to the quality of your business writing, a poorly written blog can put the company in a bad light.here are some tips that…

  34. what you want to say, but can…

    you write your posts in a way that it is easy to understand and is well-researched at the same time?if not, your blog may struggle to get off the ground at all, and again you will lose enthusiasm when you see…

  35. it. it’s kinda like a cliffhanger or…

    a teaser and you can tell you readers the topic of the next part of your series while they are reading the current one.get some video in therethis idea stands on the shoulder of the media idea, but i wanted to…

  36. your name and post will disappear into…

    the archives.however if there were a few sites that you constantly wrote for, your name will become recognizable, and if readers of your past posts like what you wrote, they are more likely to read your new post and re visit…

  37. visit site says:

    to teach your audience something. a pillar…

    article is longer than 500 words and is full of very specific tips and advice from experience. the article you’re reading right now might be considered a pillar article because it is specific and is written in a “how-to” format or…

  38. ipad says:

    select a good one. you can even…

    put a simple like button below the post.4. not too short, not too long – just enough some bloggers write way too little information and others just overdo it. personally, i sometimes get carried away in a line of thought and…

  39. Titanic says:

    you can do a lot of things…

    with an increased degree of freedom possible with paid accounts. nonetheless, Titanic having wordpress blogs is not about themes and templates. the main thing or the core of these blogs is the content.content is the key aspect of any blog site. powerfu…

  40. it is highly essential for the blogs…

    to be represented in a well structured way. for that, not only do you need to be a skilled writer, you should be a swift typer as well.this will diminish your blogging hours and help you to publish more in a…

  41. could always use relevant examples to support…

    to your ideas or arguments.use of infographicsa blog post is a way to make people understand aspects related to a certain topic. mere words may not suffice in putting forth an idea completely; pictures, maps or graphs can add just that…

  42. Mac väska says:

    greatest skill you’ll need to succeed in…

    writing or life.rejection’s a natural part of the process of becoming a successful writer and these days i’m happy to send my writing anywhere as a guest post. if someone rejects it i send it to someone else who might appreciate…

  43. than the time it takes you to…

    write. it can be intimidating at first if you’re not used to writing articles, but it’s a lot easier than you might think.if you outsource your content creation…particularly if you’re having a hard time submitting articles on Titanic a regular bas…

  44. that approach doesn’t offer any obvious imagery,…

    try finding an image which reflects an analogy or story within your post, or perhaps a facial expression or image of someone engaged in an activity related to the topic. if you think about it, there’s usually something which fits…choose a…

  45. themes, keep in mind the availability of…

    fonts when choosing the best font to use for your blog.so how do we know which fonts most people have?these fonts are commonly known as ‘web safe fonts’ and you’ll probably find the best font to use for your blog amongst…

  46. your ideas and message will always shine…

    through. our readers will always find value in the truth we write about. so in order to draw them in, do your research and find out what they are interested in. with this you can choose which poems closely relate to…

  47. car stereo says:

    true, then just follow some easy-to-implement tips…

    to make the venture successful. here is that checklist of unique blogging ideas that can help bloggers achieve their goals.marketers are undoubtedly well acquainted with the 4ps of marketing, which are known to us as product, place, pricing, and promot…

  48. quality contents and you are known as…

    an expert author and writer, webmasters and ezine publishers can pay you to write contents for them and this is a good way to riches.• enriching lives positively: article writing is an easy means of sharing your wisdom, experiences and expertise…

  49. well but remember there are specific steps…

    you need to take and plan how you can get the most out of the time you put in otherwise you can achieve your goals but still fail.as a blogger you will face a lot of challenges and will have to…

  50. remix says:

    number of people from other countries that…

    will write content for pennies. to these individuals, the american currency is worth a lot so they can do work for a lot less. however, this writing is seldom good enough to be on a reputable website. it’s the old saying…

  51. word which says “link.” this is a…

    helpful button where you can have your traffic click on a blue highlighted word, or sentence that you have directed to go to another one of your blog posts. make certain that the blog posts relate to each other. you can…

  52. - if it sounds too good to…

    be true it likely is.however, in the early days, if you are going to make it as a content writer, you are going to have to be able to bid less than these people while at the same time providing top…

  53. holds an endless supply of treasures. the…

    secret to accessing these treasures is to relax and allow it to flow out of you without judging it. focusing on what you’re “supposed to” be doing to get it “right” is guaranteed to cramp your writing flow.so, how can a…

  54. sure they only do ethical seo, and…

    will provide you with ongoing updates and analysis, so you can track how well they are doing. if you are keen on promoting your website using ethical, cost-effective and quick means, the best way to ensure quality traffic to your website…

  55. Fun says:

    that would offend the government. but wouldn’t…

    it be a bummer if you posted something on your blog, and all the suddenly someone else had removed it? and maybe it wasn’t even a person, maybe there was some sort of software that picked out keywords, or this case…

  56. YMS says:

    making a great living on the internet,…

    i’ve found his writing style to be both entertaining and persuasive.to date, frederic has written over 20 books-both physical and digital-and has enjoyed remarkable, six-figure success from his writing.i recently had the pleasure of interviewing frede…

  57. by google in their ranking algorithm, you…

    should still populate these sections because other search engines may use them.you should also limit them to 10 or so keywords/keyword phrases so as not to appear trigger the spam filters. and only use words that appear on your page. meta…

  58. Airsoft says:

    Evike.com…

    Evike | Buy Airsoft Guns & Airsoft Apparel at Evike.com…