Posted December 16, 2013

Mark Ellis, Cardinals agree to one-year contract

MLB
Mark Ellis will provide insurance for the Cardinals in a revamped infield. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Mark Ellis will provide insurance for the Cardinals in a revamped infield. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent second baseman Mark Ellis, the team announced on Monday. The terms of the deal weren’t immediately disclosed, but Cardinals.com reported that the one-year deal will pay Ellis $5.25 million, plus a potential $1 million in incentives.

The 36-year-old Ellis will provide the Cardinals with insurance for rookie Kolten Wong, who is expected to get a chance to start next season. Ellis could also back up other infield positions.

The Cardinals have shuffled around their infield this offseason, amid losing outfielder Carlos Beltran in free agency and trading third baseman David Freese. They signed Jhonny Peralta to start at shortstop, while Matt Adams will start at first and Mark Carpenter will start at third. Allen Craig is expected to move to right field to take over for Beltran.

Ellis has spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2013, he hit .270 with six homers, 48 RBI, and a .674 OPS.

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4 comments
Michael10
Michael10

So the Cards effectively replaced recent all-star and fan favorite David Freese in the infield (on the assumption that Kolton Wong was ready to produce every day) with the 36-year-old Ellis (on the assumption that he isn't). At roughly the same cost or less (and at no positional disadvantage due to Carpenter's versatility), they could have kept Freese who has a much stronger upside -- especially coming off the bench -- and perhaps seen a significant increase in his trade value coming off a down year. I don't like this signing at all, not for $5-6MM...

Dodgerflip
Dodgerflip

Nice pick up Cards. Ellis does a lot of things to help his team win games that don't show on the box score.

ngk11
ngk11

If Oscar can contribute this year---this team will be absolutely LOADED

PotsosSTL
PotsosSTL

@Michael10 Freese had one good HALF of a season and while we'll never forget what he did in 2011, that was a freak occurrence.  He is past 30, has terrible ankles and is statistically one of the worst fielding 3B of all time.  

The Cardinals effectively replaced him with Matt Carpenter, a plus defender at 3B that finished in the top 10 in MVP voting.  Wong and Ellis will almost certainly platoon at 2nd and there are other options if shifting is necessary in the short term (Peralta/Carpenter, etc).  


The Cardinals got a LOT of value out of Freese.  Bourjos and a power prospect for Freese was almost universally called a steal for the Cardinals.  Bourjos might be the best defensive CF in baseball.  The Cardinals are markedly better defensively in 2014.  The two worst defenders have been replaced by a plus defender and perhaps the best fielding CF in baseball.  Ellis has more runs saved at 2nd then any 2B since 2010 and he and Wong are at the very worst a wash replacing Carpenter.

The Cards have a lot of money left to spend, they are very close to being set and they spent exactly none of their prized pitching assets, leaving them incredible flexibility for mid-season moves if needed.  Mo is a genius and we are living in the greatest stretch for Cardinals baseball since the 1940s.