No second baseman has suited up for the A's as often as Mark Ellis, but when the 34-year-old lost his starting job earlier this month, it became clear that his time in Oakland would likely end soon. Ellis' nine-year tenure with the Athletics is now officially over. The A's announced that they sent Ellis and cash considerations to the Rockies for right-hander reliever Bruce Billings and a player to be named later.
Ellis hit .217/.253/.290 this year and lost his starting job to 24-year-old second baseman Jemile Weeks. The veteran pinch hit for the A's and even played a little first base, but he wasn't producing on offense the way he did in 2010, when he posted a .358 OBP.
The A's exercised Ellis' $6MM option last offseason and the infielder will be eligible for free agency this fall. He still has $3MM remaining on his 2011 contract and the Rockies will cover $1MM of that, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Though Ellis currently projects as a Type A free agent, draft pick compensation was probably not a major factor in the deal, as there's no guarantee he'll receive an offer of arbitration.
The Rockies have used six second basemen this year: Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson, Jose Lopez, Eric Young, Alfredo Amezaga and Jose Morales. The group has combined for a .610 OPS, 23rd among MLB second basemen. Herrera, the Rockies' primary second base option, has struggled to hit nearly as much as Ellis; the 26-year-old has a .237/.311/.303 line.
Billings, 25, pitched in his first (and so far only) MLB game on May 27th, when he allowed one earned run on five hits in two innings against the Cardinals. The former 30th round pick has a 4.47 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in his first season at Triple-A and his first full season as a reliever.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.