Cardinals To Sign Mark Ellis

MONDAY: Ellis' contract guarantees him $5.25MM and contains more than $1MM worth of incentives, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). Ellis obtains the same base salary that he had in 2013 and, when combined with the $1MM buyout he received from the Dodgers, has exceeded the amount of money he could have earned had Los Angeles simply exercised the option.

SUNDAY: The Cardinals have a one-year deal in place with free agent second baseman Mark Ellis, with a physical and subsequent announcement expected later this week, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). Ellis is represented by TWC Sports.

Ellis

Ellis, 36, spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers' primary second baseman, but hit the open market when Los Angeles declined declined a $5.75MM club option for 2014. Last year, he hit .270/.323/.351 in 480 plate appearances. As has come to be expected, Ellis continued to display stellar defense, putting up +7.6 UZR/150 and +12 DRS per The Fielding Bible in 2013. That bumped his value into the range of about one-and-a-half to three wins above replacement, depending on which WAR recipe you prefer. 

Looking at the list of available second baggers, Ellis was probably the best overall option left on the market at this point. While other players offered more attractive age or upside, Ellis has been a consistent contributor for nearly a decade. With Omar Infante and Juan Uribe coming off the board in recent days, Stephen Drew is arguably the only free agent, non-first baseman infielder left on the market who should be counted on as an above-average regular next season.

St. Louis had been expected to add a veteran option that could play up the middle, and Ellis should fit in well in the Cardinals infield mix. 23-year-old prospect Kolten Wong figures to have the inside track to the everyday job at the keystone. But Ellis offers both a veteran alternative and a platoon option to pair with Wong's left-handed bat. Over his 5,500+ MLB plate appearances, Ellis has a .777 OPS against lefties and a .700 OPS against same-handed hurlers. Wong has, unsurprisingly, posted somewhat better numbers against righties in the early stages of his professional career. Ellis could also spell Matt Carpenter at third, notes Rosenthal (via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


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144 Comments on "Cardinals To Sign Mark Ellis"


Member
SanFranPanda
1 year 6 months ago

Solid veteran leadership, decent bat and a healthier transition for Wong, good pick up for the Cards.

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Pavilionbum
1 year 6 months ago

Meh, not sure about decent bat, but the rest is true.

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GoForThree
1 year 6 months ago

Decent against lefties, which is where he’ll get most of his ABs.

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Little Tone
1 year 6 months ago

2013 vs lefties .282/.331/.412

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kcstengelSr
1 year 6 months ago

many at KC sites wanted Mark Ellis because many felt Infante was out of reach. Surprised that Mark only merited one year.

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Ddgrfn from 1947
1 year 6 months ago

Hate to agree with a Giant fan, but he had good years with the Dodgers.
Not sure why he turned down 1 yr. Dodger offer, but wish him well.

Member
rwj14
1 year 6 months ago

The Dodgers declined his club option. Which was stupid. Now The Dodgers have lost 3 crucial players & clubhouse guys in Nick Punto (Oakland), Skip Schumacher (Cincinnati) & now Mark Ellis (St. Louis). We got to get decent players to replace these 3 players. They really stepped up. We got Dee Gordon although not sure he’s ready to be a utility player. So we need players to backup Uribe, HanRam, & Guerrero.

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thegrayrace
1 year 6 months ago

Schumaker was terrible, but you’re right about the other two.

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Joe Valenti
1 year 6 months ago

They also might not get Michael Young back. Not that he was a good on the field player, but that clubhouse seems like one that could see a lot of turmoil if the right guys aren’t there to put out the fire at times

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BlueSkyLA
1 year 6 months ago

I think they declined his option because they need a utility infielder, and Ellis plays only 2B. They need someone who can also backup at SS and 3B.

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Brandon Mason
1 year 6 months ago

This would be a good pick up for the Cardinals.

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BlueJayMatt
1 year 6 months ago

Why weren’t the Jays in on this? Only a one-year deal? Come on AA, you can’t be serious about running Goins out there everyday, can you?

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Steely_D89
1 year 6 months ago

Agreed. I know the Jays need to save a lot of their cash for pitching this offseason but would a 2yr/6mil kind of deal not been perfect for both parties as long as Ellis was interested in the Jays? Let Goins learn to hit in AAA.

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Teufelshunde4
1 year 6 months ago

Whats up with AA? Is the honeymoon over? AA not a ninja GM after all?

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BlueJayMatt
1 year 6 months ago

He’s still a great GM, I just don’t understand this non-move. Unless he tried and Ellis doesn’t want to play on green cement? I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to play on real grass and protect his knees.

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Teufelshunde4
1 year 6 months ago

Great GM’s have their team in contention every year. great GM’s extract talent from a wide spectrum of sources. AA has a good eye to prospects, but has yet to build a winner at major league level

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rikersbeard
1 year 6 months ago

that can’t be right. Many great GMs take time to build up a winner. Once you have a solid ML roster and minor league system it isn’t that hard to stay in contention. Pretty sure Gillick is considered a great GM, but he had plenty of teams that were not in contention. Similarly, you might think that Epstein and Hoyer are good, but the cubs certainly aren’t in contention. Billy Beane had plenty of A’s teams not in contention. etc.

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BlueJayMatt
1 year 6 months ago

By that measure Friedman wouldn’t be a great GM and he absolutely is. He took over in 2005 and the Rays missed the playoffs in 4 of his fist 5 seasons,

AA built up the farm system then made a couple of trades. Next year will be his 5th in charge and we’ll see towards the end of that year.

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MoCrash
1 year 6 months ago

It could also be that Ellis wants to play for a team which has a shot at the Series. History suggests that’s more likely to be the Cardinals than the Jays (no hate, just fact).

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Nick Costanza
1 year 6 months ago

He was overrated based on a few good early moves, and even then he had traded Mike Napoli for peanuts. He’s really not a great GM, possibly a little better than average.

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Steely_D89
1 year 6 months ago

Napoli when he came to the Jays had just been passed up over Mathis in LAA… He was a power threat at C with good defense but his contact had been suspect. The Jays had the “Catcher of the future” up and coming and had a DESPERATE “need” for a closer after the BJ Ryan and failed experiment. At the time it seemed like an alright move based on organizational needs. Judging trades with hindsight isn’t very fair.

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AZDbacksfan1
1 year 6 months ago

This is really a good signing for the Cards. I knew that they wouldn’t keep Wong full-time. If this deal is under 6 mil, then the Cards got a good steal.

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GoForThree
1 year 6 months ago

It’s still Wong’s job until proven otherwise. So you see, you don’t know.

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PaperLions
1 year 6 months ago

Exactly. They wanted a backup RH hitter. The most Ellis will play is as the small part of the platoon…but they would be smart to let Wong hit against some lefties as well….hard to develop a skill without the chance to work on it.

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GoForThree
1 year 6 months ago

Agreed. Ellis will likely get some time at 3rd as well.

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Joe Valenti
1 year 6 months ago

This is still a good move given that Wong was really the only “weak” spot in that lineup. If he falters they can throw in Ellis and not miss a step. Seems like they have a surplus in 1B/RF with Jay, Adams, Taveras, and Craig

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GoForThree
1 year 6 months ago

I’m still of the belief that Jay is on another team by opening day. Oh and Jay doesn’t have the arm for a RF.

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Joe Valenti
1 year 6 months ago

Well Jay was more of an entire OF thing. I really wanted the Mets to trade for him right after the Cards got Bourjos but with Young, Lagares, and Granderson I don’t see it happening

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MoCrash
1 year 6 months ago

Ellis is Wong Insurance.

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AndreTheGiantKiller
1 year 6 months ago

As a dodger fan I’m sad to see him go. Classy guy and great team player.