The A’s sent out an official release this afternoon that second baseman Mark Ellis has agreed to a two-year contract with a club option for 2011. The deal reportedly will pay him between $10-11 million total over the next two seasons not including incentives. That number could reach in the neighborhood of $18 million if the A’s pick up the option for 2011.
From here, it looks like a pretty wise move on the A’s part. I don’t think you realize the value of a player like Ellis until he’s no longer in the clubhouse. You could justify his signing based strictly on the rock-solid defense he plays, but it’s also important to have players that set an example for how major leaguers should go about their daily business. That’s no small thing for such a young team.
All indications are that he will be fully recovered from right shoulder surgery by spring training. I’d also expect him to hit better than last season. Ellis didn’t want to use his up-in-the-air status as an excuse for his hitting woes in 2008, but if it wasn’t weighing on him, he probably wouldn’t have called off the in-season negotiations.
As for the ripple effects for the rest of the A’s infield, shortstop Bobby Crosby’s name is circulating as a possible trade piece, though it seems he’d have to be packaged with somebody to get another team to take interest. But with Ellis’ re-signing, I’d expect Cliff Pennington to get more looks at shortstop no matter what. The A’s also are high on minor league middle infielder Adrian Cardenas, who they hope will be equally comfortable playing 2B or SS. He’s playing in the AZ Fall League right now.
Anyhow, I realize Ellis isn’t a marquee name. But it’s not often the news involves the A’s retaining one of their key veterans. How do all of you feel about the move?