Introducing Mark Ellis, the Dodgers' new second baseman
But Ellis said he is fine with that.
“I understand the situation,” he said.
The veteran second baseman was referring to the Dodgers’ ownership situation, which remains in flux.
“If that gives them the opportunity to sign someone else, I’m all for that,” Ellis said of the structure of his contract. “I want to be on a good team. I want to play in October.”
Ellis acknowledged that if owner Frank McCourt hadn’t agreed to sell the team and the ownership situation still appeared to be far from resolved, he might have been reluctant to sign. Because a new ownership group could take over soon and make widespread changes, Ellis said, it was important that his deal was guaranteed for more than a season.
Ellis makes his off-season home in Arizona and said he wanted to remain on the West Coast. He has three children, including a 4-year-old boy who is already in school.
“Los Angeles is obviously a very easy destination for my family,” he said.
“All I’ve known is good pitching,” said Ellis, who spent the first 8½ seasons of his career with the Oakland A’s. “It started with (Tim) Hudson, (Mark) Mulder and (Barry) Zito.”
He also played behind Ted Lilly, who will enter the second year of his three-year contract with the Dodgers.
Of how the Dodgers pursued him in part because of their study of advanced defensive metrics, Ellis said, “I come from an organization (Oakland) where it was obviously very important. To be real honest with you, when my agent brings it up, I have no idea what he’s talking about. It’s the direction a lot of teams are going right now. It’s nice that teams are recognizing that.”
Ellis’ zone rating of .866 is best among all active second baseman.
He hasn’t been as consistent offensively, batting as high as .316 and as low as .233. He hit a career-high 19 home runs in 2007.
“I think I have some pop left,” said Ellis, who hit seven home runs last season.
At 34, Ellis said, he has modified his training regimen.
“I don’t lift as much as I used to,” he said.
He said he thinks he should be able to play 135-140 games.
-- Dylan Hernandez
Photo: Colorado Rockies second baseman Mark Ellis tries to prevent Houston's Jose Altuve from stealing second during a game on Sept. 24. Credit: Eric Christian Smith / Getty Images