Don Mattingly on A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal and personal catchers.

Yasmani Grandal

Switch-hitting Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has a 105 OPS-plus in his career batting right-handed and an 88 OPS-plus batting left-handed. (Getty Images)

Don Mattingly addressed the media yesterday for the first time since the Winter Meetings. I posted a bunch of videos from his interviews here. My story about the impending center-field competition is here.

Mattingly addressed a number of topics after my video recorder ran out of memory, or unfit for print. One was the catcher position.
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Update: Dodgers, A.J. Ellis avoid arbitration at $4.25 million.

Catcher A.J. Ellis batted .191 in 93 games for the Dodgers last season. (Associated Press photo)

Catcher A.J. Ellis batted .191 in 93 games for the Dodgers last season. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers and catcher A.J. Ellis have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth a reported $4.25 million.

Ellis, 33, made $3.55 million in 2014, when he batted .191/.323/.254 in 93 games. The new contract would make Ellis the 12th-highest paid catcher in baseball, not bad for a player who has yet to hit free agency.

MLBTradeRumors.com projected Ellis to earn $3.8 million in arbitration.

The Dodgers acquired switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal from the San Diego Padres in December with the intention of dividing playing time between Grandal and Ellis in 2015.

Five other Dodgers remain eligible for arbitration: pitchers Kenley Jansen and Juan Nicasio, infielder Justin Turner and outfielder Chris Heisey. The Dodgers avoided arbitration with infielder Darwin Barney in December by agreeing to a $2.5 million contract.

Poll: Grade the Matt Kemp trade.

It took a while, but we can report the final terms of the trade sending Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres.

Dodgers receive:
C Yasmani Grandal
RHP Joe Wieland
RHP Zach Eflin (traded to Philadelphia with LHP Tom Windle for SS Jimmy Rollins)

Padres receive:
RF Matt Kemp
C Tim Federowicz
$32 million

It’s probably not fair to judge this move in a vacuum, but that’s how Matt Kemp has been judged for the last eight seasons. So judge away:

Finally! Dodgers, Padres, Phillies complete blockbuster trades.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp became a San Diego Padre on Thursday. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

Matt Kemp is a San Diego Padre. Jimmy Rollins is a Dodger.

Two blockbuster trades that seemed inevitable a week ago became official Thursday after an issue with Matt Kemp’s physical caused an awkward delay.
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It’s (almost) official: Dodgers trade Matt Kemp to San Diego.

The Dodgers continued a furious Winter Meetings trade spree Thursday morning by dealing Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres. Kemp, a star outfielder and the Dodgers’ longest tenured player, has been informed of the trade, which has not been announced by either team because it is still pending approval from the league.

Soon, Kemp will be heading south along with catcher Tim Federowicz in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and pitcher Zach Eflin, according to multiple reports.

The full story is here.

Report: Padres would likely include Yasmani Grandal in a Matt Kemp trade package.

Yasmani Grandal

Yasmani Grandal was suspended 50 games for testosterone use prior to the 2013 season. (Getty Images)


The Dodgers are discussing the framework for trading Matt Kemp to San Diego. That was the instant takeaway — and isn’t that the only takeaway that interests anyone these days? — from the following two tweets from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Thursday afternoon:

But that’s the lazy takeaway, and it shouldn’t be the only takeaway.
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Daily Distractions: Several major-leaguers implicated in PED report; Suck, Schmidt and Sax.

Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez’s HCG supplier, Tony Bosch, has a long list of clients in professional sports, according to a report today in the Miami New Times. (AP photo)

Just in case a small patch of your thick skin still hasn’t numbed to the idea that some professional athletes use performancing-enhancing drugs, the Miami New Times reported today that Alex Rodriguez, Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Nelson Cruz are listed as clients of a Miami clinic that distributes illegal PEDs.

Rodriguez and Gonzalez – whose father did admit to purchasing weight-loss products from the clinic – have already denied any connection to the clinic’s former proprietor, Tony Bosch.

Major League Baseball will have the final say. The league is investigating the matter and suspensions could be levied if the apparent PED use can be proven. Cabrera, Colon and Grandal were all suspended 50 games for violating MLB’s drug policy at some point last year. Gonzalez, Rodriguez and Cruz have never been penalized for PED use.

Regardless of the outcome, this story represents another wrinkle in the never-ending game of cat and mouse that exists among athletes seeking an edge, the PED suppliers who enable them, and the sports and government authorities charged with policing this activity.

Even if you’re numb to this plot, give it a read. The level of journalism is excellent, and there’s tremendous value in weeding out another hub for illegal drug distribution – regardless of whether the clientele is famous or not.

There is a Dodgers connection. You might recall Bosch’s name from 2010, when Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for the women’s fertility drug HCG. Bosch’s clinic was the supplier of Ramirez’s HCG.

As the author, Tim Elfrink, concludes: “Indeed, there are two patterns to the names of athletes in Bosch’s records: (1) Most have direct ties to Miami and often to the UM Hurricanes baseball program, and (2) a number have already been caught doping — which suggests that either Bosch isn’t particularly gifted at crafting drugs that can beat performance tests or his clients aren’t careful.”

Onto the links:

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