When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Yasmani Grandal in the December 2014 trade with the San Diego Padres it marked a changing of the guard behind the plate. The 2016 season then saw the end of an era when Los Angeles traded A.J. Ellis to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ellis, who was selected in the 18th round of the 2003 Draft, was the longest-tenured player in the Dodgers organization at the time of being sent to Philadelphia in exchange for fellow veteran backup catcher Carlos Ruiz. The Dodgers then traded Ruiz to the Seattle Mariners last November for Vidal Nuno.
The domino effect moved Austin Barnes up the depth chart and he’s now slated to enter the 2017 season as Grandal’s backup. Barnes’ arrival in the Majors left a void at catcher for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
That may now be filled by Bobby Wilson, who was signed by the Dodgers to a Minor League contract, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
Bobby Wilson signs minors deal with dodgers. $1M if in majors.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 6, 2017
Wilson was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 26th round of the 2001 Draft but elected to attend St. Petersburg College. He was then drafted the following year by the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim in the 48th round.
The 33-year-old spent last season with the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Wilson batted .237/.270/.355 with six doubles, seven home runs and 33 RBI in 251 plate appearances over 75 games, and rates as an average to above-average catcher defensively.
He’s spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors, also playing for the Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks, and is a lifetime .214/.268/.319 batter in 849 plate appearances. Wilson appeared in one game with Triple-A Toledo (Tigers organization) last season, and 17 games with Triple-A Durham (Rays) in 2015.
Prior to that, his most extensive experience at that level came in 2014, when Wilson hit .267/.324/.341 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 38 RBI in 76 games for Triple-A Reno (Diamondbacks).