This is quite a busy Monday for the Dodgers. First came news of the pending Matt Kemp contract extension, and now the Dodgers have apparently decided to commit to two years for second baseman Mark Ellis, per Buster Olney of ESPN. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the total contract at $8.75 million.
The strength of Ellis is his glove. He rates well by both UZR (+8.2 runs per 150 games in his career) and dWAR (even after a decline, 2.6 defensive wins above replacement in the last three years).
The problems with Ellis are health and age, which have eroded his performance. He has battled hamstring injuries the last two years and was sidelined two months with a calf injury in 2009. He has averaged just 120 games per year in the last four seasons and has hit just .258/.318/.374 during that span.
In 132 games in 2011, Ellis hit .248/.288/.346 splitting time with between Oakland and Colorado, not exactly the launch season that would warrant a multi-year contract. It's even more puzzling when Ellis could get more than Jamey Carroll, who has a $7 million, two-year deal in Minnesota.
Maybe the Dodgers are hoping Ellis in his ages 35-36 seasons reverts to 2010, when he hit .291/.358/.391. It seems like quite a gamble though.
If anything, the starting infield appears set now, with James Loney at first base, Ellis at second, Dee Gordon at shortstop, and Juan Uribe at third base. While they have the potential to be a tremendous defensive infield, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence offensively. Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles took time out from not voting in the SB Nation awards to tweet this:
I think an Uribe/Gordon/Ellis/Loney infield is going to hit just fine. But I'm also afan, and my perspective is alllll screwed up.
Sometimes the truth hurts.