No, not Matt Kemp’s mega-signing deal. Still waiting on that one.
In the meantime, the Dodgers announced Tuesday a two-year, $8.75-million deal with second baseman Mark Ellis that includes a third-year option.
Ellis, 34, has a career .266 batting average, a little pop (a career-high 19 homers in ’07), plays an excellent second base, and as an added bonus, is apparently a really good guy; he twice won the A’s equivalent of the Roy Campanella Award.
This comes on the same day that ex-Dodger infielder Jamey Carroll is taking his physical as a prelude to an official announcement from the Twins that he’s been signed as their starting shortstop. Carroll reportedly got $6.75 million for two years.
Ellis, however, is coming off a down year (.248 batting, .288 on-base, .346 slugging). General Manager Ned Colletti is taking the long-term approach. Said Colletti in a statement:
“Mark brings a veteran presence to our lineup and he knows how to handle the bat. On defense, he’s been one of the most dependable second basemen in baseball over the course of his career.”
Ellis led the majors for the third time in six years in fielding percentage (.995) last season.
He did not come cheaply, however, which is both reflective of the market and Colletti’s willingness to spend on veterans for positions without a Dodgers starter.
However, as ESPN/LA’s Jon Weisman pointed out, add Ellis’ $8.75 million to the $4.5 million to sign Juan Rivera, and the $6-million-plus it’s estimated it will take to resign James Loney, and you have a pretty nice down payment on a first-year deal for Prince Fielder.
— Steve Dilbeck