Heading into the 2012 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were looking for a second baseman and settled on signing Mark Ellis to a two-year contract.
Ellis spent most of his career with the Oakland Athletics and spent half a season with NL West rival Colorado Rockies. The second baseman hovered around a .270 average and 20 doubles a year in his career, but was seen as a great defensive second baseman.
Well, he finished his first season with a .258 batting average and 21 doubles, but missed a significant portion of the season with a major leg injury. Coming into the 2013 season, Ellis regained his starting spot and looked to stay healthy for a full year while providing solid defense for the Dodgers.
Regular Season Grade: B
Ellis is known more for his glove, but the 36-year-old finished the year with a solid .270 batting average, six home runs and 48 RBI. While he missed time with a strained right quad early in the season, Ellis regained his spot hitting second in the lineup to the ire of many Dodger fans.
However, there were several instances where Ellis would come up with a key hit for the Dodgers when they needed it. While the stats weren’t flashy, Ellis would move runners over either via the bunt or groundout as Don Mattingly loved getting players further into scoring position after they already were.
Overall, Ellis was exactly what the Dodgers needed at second base and he was apart of their resurgence midway through the season.
Playoff Grade: C
Ellis’ solid offensive season didn’t translate into the playoffs, but his defense stayed exceptional as always.
In four games in the divisional series against the Atlanta Braves, Ellis hit .267 with two doubles, one RBI on four hits and struck out six times. He did score four runs and walked three times for a .389 OBP.
He struggled in the championship series though as in six games against the St. Louis Cardinals, Ellis finished with a .240 batting average, one double and one triple but zero RBI on just six hits. He also struck out four times and had a .240 OBP.
His lone triple came in the 10th inning of Game 1 of the NLCS, which featured one of the most controversial plays. Ellis hit a one-out triple which brought to the plate the Dodgers best and hottest hitter in Hanley Ramirez. After Mattingly pinch ran for Adrian Gonzalez earlier in the game, the Cardinals were able to intentionally walk Ramirez to face Gonzalez’s replacement, Michael Young.
Young hit a fly ball to right and Ellis tried to tag up from third, but was thrown out at the plate. Replay showed that catcher Yadier Molina never actually tagged Ellis, but since he touched him, he was ruled out.
The entire Dodgers offense was shutdown against the Cardinals and Ellis was another one that couldn’t come up with timely hits.
Overall Grade: B-
Ellis improved at the plate in his second season with the team and had an outstanding season in the field, earning a Gold Glove nomination. The Dodgers wanted more production out of second base spot and went out and signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero this off-season.
Guerrero is expected to be the Dodgers Opening Day second baseman next season and Ellis became expandable and the Dodgers declined his 2014 $5.75 million option. This doesn’t mean Ellis can’t return to the team, but he’d likely be back in a reserve role.
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