aj_ellis_catching_2013-04-09

A.J. Ellis to have surgery on left knee for meniscus tear, what now?

aj_ellis_catching_2013-04-09

In a reveal that seemingly came out of nowhere, the Dodgers official Twitter broke news that A.J. Ellis would be undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee for a meniscus tear. He also underwent in operation for a meniscus tear in the same knee back in October of 2012.

There’s no information on his recovery timetable yet, but it depends a great deal what type of meniscus tear we’re looking at. For Ellis’ previous tear, he was given a timetable of six weeks and was ready to begin 2013. And while Derrick Rose famously was ruled out for the 2013-14 season with the tear, Russell Westbrook was on a typical timetable of 4-6 weeks.

So we’re not quite sure yet how much time we’re looking at without A.J. until they release more information or until the surgery actually happens. According to Dylan Hernandez though, we may be looking at the optimistic side of 4-6 weeks:

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Now about that move the Dodgers are talking about:┬áThis will inevitably be Tim Federowicz. I can’t imagine them bringing up Miguel Olivo when he was shown to be a clear fourth in the pecking order (and isn’t even on the 40-man roster).

Through 193 MLB plate appearances, T-Fed’s line checks in at .227/.283/.341/.624. Steamer doesn’t project much better, predicting a line of .224/.290/.343/.633. But the hope is that he’ll put up better numbers with consistent playing time. By comparison, Steamer projected Ellis to be a .235/.331/.340/.672 hitter and a 3.0 WAR player.

Defensively, A.J. was one of the better catchers in the league at controlling the run game in 2013, but was a mediocre pitcher framer, something he himself admitted to working on. The problem is that in limited time, T-Fed graded out even worse as a pitch framer and wasn’t as effective at throwing guys out. Drew Butera, expected to remain as the backup, is renowned as a plus defensive catcher. Of course, that comes with the downside of being one of the worst hitters in baseball history. No, really.

So while there doesn’t appear to be a massive drop-off in store at the position — it’s not like Ellis was hitting — it could get uglier if Federowicz doesn’t hit better than expected. Everything else at the moment points to a clear downgrade at the position going forward, and that doesn’t even factor in the potential effect this has on the pitching staff. Unfortunately, there’s just nothing available as far as catchers on other teams, so Butera/Fed is what we’ll have to make due with. Come back soon, A.J.