Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday morning that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ former second baseman, Mark Ellis, decided to move on from the club:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 15, 2013
The Dodgers hope to have Alexander Guerrero fill in as the everyday second baseman in the 2014 MLB season and, as such, it seemed that Ellis’ days as the starter were over. Such a revelation should not be all that unexpected as the signs all pointed to this transition. From the Dodgers not opting to pick up Ellis’ last year to the signing of Guerrero, the only thing that could have kept Ellis as the primary guy in the four hole would have been a stellar 2013 performance. Unfortunately, the 36-year old performed admirably, but certainly lacked the pop and consistency in his bat to merit faith from his coaches.
All the same, smart Dodgers fans should have hoped for the club to re-sign Ellis in his free agency to a short contract and have him be a backup. Ellis still managed to plate 48 runners and batted .270 this past season and if he could have brought that kind of ability and a fantastic glove as a defensive replacement, he would be a solid member of the bench. Any team would be glad to have Ellis as their backup and the Dodgers missed out on the opportunity that the St. Louis Cardinals snatched up.
This has become an unnerving motif for Los Angeles this offseason as the team has lost several veteran backups such as Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker. Although these players may not seem as important as Clayton Kershaw or Hanley Ramirez, baseball is a team sport played over a grueling, 162-game season. Every member of the organization is important and role players fill vital gaps during injury and when the starters need to rest. Ned Colletti, the Dodgers’ General Manager, has some serious work to do to fill those role players’ gaps before the offseason is over.