Free Agent Stock Watch: Mark Ellis

A’s second baseman Mark Ellis might be the affordable alternative to Orlando Hudson next winter.  In September of last year, the A’s chose to exercise Ellis’ $5MM option for ’08.

Ellis, 30, was ranked as the fourth-best defensive second baseman by the Fielding Bible’s panel of experts, behind Aaron Hill, Hudson, and Brandon Phillips.  The market might undervalue second base defense – Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projection system values Ellis at about $30MM over the 2009-11 seasons.  He seems unlikely to become a $10MM a year player.

Ellis also has offensive value.  He’s good for a .330 OBP and .400 SLG, which is at least league average for the position.  And he is capable of more power, having hit 19 home runs last year.

Ellis seems likely to snag a contract of three years at $6-7MM per season. Sure beats Hudson’s asking price.  Ellis just missed Type A classification last winter; I think he’ll reach it this time (here’s a refresher on the stats used for the Elias rankings).  Because of the likely Type A draft pick compensation, I can see him playing out the string in ’08 with the A’s.

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