Mark Ellis‘ tenure with the Dodgers is a pretty simple one to sum up: good to excellent defense, below-average hitting made worse by Don Mattingly‘s insistence on batting him second, and the inevitable leg injury.
2013 provided more of the same old same old from Mark. Ellis saved roughly seven runs with the leather while hitting just .270/.323/.351/.674, posting a .300 wOBA and wRC+ of 92. While he didn’t whiff a lot, he also failed to draw free passes at a good clip.
As was the case with his first year in Los Angeles, Mark hit the DL once again with a leg injury, and only played in 126 games. When he was healthy enough to be in the lineup, Ellis found himself hitting either first or second in 52.9% of his 480 plate appearances. In his two seasons with the Dodgers, Ellis has batted leadoff or second in just under 70% of his 944 plate appearances, though his on-base percentage in those two years was a robust .328.
If for no other reason than the fact that Mattingly can’t help but bat Ellis at the top of the order, it’s a good thing the Dodgers declined Mark’s 2014 option and have decided, in all likelihood, to run with Alexander Guerrero at second base. Ellis’ glove plays as a reserve quite well, but his bat lacks so much punch in an already punch-less group of reserves that unless the Dodgers decide to treat Guerrero more like Yasiel Puig than Hyun Jin Ryu, Ellis doesn’t have a spot to return to.
Ellis could easily find himself commanding a two-year deal for $10-12 million based on his glove and grittiness alone, and if that’s the case, then Ned Colletti need not be interested in retaining his services. Guerrero almost certainly won’t be anywhere near the glove man Ellis is, but it’s also hard to imagine he can’t produce more with the lumber.
Skip Schumaker logged 34 games, including 18 starts, at second base in 2013. He was basically Ellis with the bat, slashing .263/.332/.332/.664 with a .301 wOBA and 93 wRC+. Of course, what matters most with Skip is his constantly talked about versatility in the field, and that’s why he found himself on the team in 2013 following an off-season trade during the winter of 2012.
It should not be necessary to note, although it sadly is, that being able to play multiple positions doesn’t inherently mean you can and do play them well. That’s the case with Schumaker, as he rates out poorly at second base, as well as all three outfield positions. Skip cost the club about 13 runs overall with his glove, and when you look at second base apart from his time in the outfield, DRS and UZR have him at an atrocious -14 and -10.0, respectively.
There’s no reason to bring Schu back for 2014, as the Dodgers need guys manning their bench spots who can field and/or hit. Skip does neither, and even though he would come cheap, he’d be taking a roster spot from a young guy with significantly more upside or a better veteran.