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Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoid arbitration, agreeing to $4.5-million deal

Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoid arbitration, agreeing to $4.5-million deal
A.J. Ellis fields a throw during a Sept. 27 game between the Dodgers and the Rockies in Denver. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

A.J. Ellis will return to the Dodgers next season.

Ellis agreed to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.

By securing a deal with Ellis, the Dodgers were able to retain their popular backup catcher without going through a potentially expensive salary arbitration process.

Ellis earned $4.25 million this year.

Wednesday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. Arbitration-eligible players who aren’t tendered contracts become free agents.

With the Dodgers acquiring Yasmani Grandal from the San Diego Padres last winter, Ellis moved into a backup role this past season.

Ellis appeared to be affected by his reduced role, as he was batting only .138 through June 6. But his production improved significantly over the final months of the regular season, as he batted .285 with seven home runs over his last 43 games.

Even as Grandal became an all-star, Ellis remained the preferred catcher of Clayton Kershaw.

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