Signed to a back-loaded two-year deal in the off-season, Mark Ellis only played in 110 games after nearly losing a leg on the play you see above, posting a ~2.7 WAR in the process. 35 now and turning 36 years of age next summer, Ellis can’t afford to lose anything physically beyond what Father Time was already taking away from him, particularly when so much of his value is derived from his glove. At the end of the day, his health might be the biggest factor in his productivity.
After posting just a .248/.288/.346/.634 line with a putrid .282 wOBA in 2011 (Ellis did finish strong though after moving to the friendly air of Coors Field), he swung the bat better in 2012, posting a .258/.333/.364/.697 slash line with a .312 wOBA. That’s still not very good offensively, but as a second baseman, Ellis isn’t paid to hit like Matt Kemp. As long as he can field the position to the degree he did in 2012 (~6.9 runs saved) and has throughout his career, he can be a solid complementary regular. Although who knows, if Don Mattingly didn’t ask him and every other number-two hitter for the Dodgers to bunt so much, maybe Ellis would have recorded a few more base-knocks.
#StopBunting, Donnie Baseball.
Anyways, slated to make $5.25 million this upcoming campaign, with a club option worth almost $6 million clams for 2014, Ellis will need to stave off old age for at least another year. Speaking of the effects of old age, the major leg injury he suffered could plausibly have had an effect on his performance at the plate (.273/.373/.364/.737 pre-injury, .251/.314/.364/.678 post-injury), though his second-half slide could also be attributed to the fact that Ellis isn’t and hasn’t ever been a great hitter.
On the bright side, Ellis did walk twice as much in ’12 as he did in ’11 (8.6/4.2 BB%), which would come in handy as the number two-hitter in front of The Bison, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Hanley Ramirez. Well, it would if, you know, Donnie didn’t take the bat out of his hands constantly to pointlessly give up an out.
Subbing in for an injured Ellis, Jerry Hairston Jr. put up a .231/.301/.330/.631 slash line in 30 games at the position before succumbing to a season-ending hip injury which required surgery. Overall, Hairston hit .273/.342/.387/.729 with a .320 wOBA.
The Swiss Army knife of players signed a back-loaded two-year deal of his own, and will make $3.75 million in 2013 while serving as a super-sub and right-handed bat with a bit of pop off the bench.
The Dodgers had a total of eight guys suit up at second, none of whom beyond Ellis and Hairston really necessitate any mention. However, it’s worth noting that Ivan De Jesus is no longer with the team, and yes, Adam Kennedy really did spend the whole season with the Dodgers, so all that wasn’t a nightmare (well, it was a nightmare, but a real one). I’ll say this for Kennedy: he walked a surprising and inordinate amount of times, at least based on his career numbers (11.4% in 2012, 6.6% for his career).