Monday, March 8, 2010

30 A's in 30 Days – Mark Ellis

Acquired: Traded as part of a 3-team trade (including Tampa Bay Devil Rays) by the Kansas City Royals (January 8, 2001).
Contract: Two years ($11M, total) with 2011 team option ($6M).
Position: Starting Second Baseman

Projected BA/OBP/SLG: (.248/.312/.386)

Over/Under: Mark Ellis epitomizes everything – good and not-so-good – about the Oakland A's. Like the franchise he's played for his whole career, Ellis has been mostly anonymous on a national level. His jaw-dropping defense is common knowledge among A's fans, but – like a lot of things about this team – needs the kind of complicated acronyms fancied by our boy-genius GM for those who don't follow the A's to appreciate.

And, like most of the A's teams of recent vintage, he's got the personality of tap water. I'm not saying you need charisma to hit a curveball, but it is hard to market the lunch pail throwbacks who've hit .247/.314/.387 over the past two seasons. Those numbers fall right in line with his projection, but I'm taking the UNDER. Ellis turns 33 this year and he's been unable to stay on the field for a full season since 2007.

By the Numbers: 78 – Career home runs by Ellis as a second baseman, which makes him the all-time Oakland A's leader at the position. Players behind Ellis include Dick Green, Tony Phillips, Scott Speizio and Davey Lopes. Quite a rich legacy, no?

Surefire 2010 Prediction: In a mild surprise, the A's will pick up Ellis' $6M option for 2011. Top 2B prospect Jemile Weeks is so raw on defense that the team is considering a move to the outfield. 2B/3B prospect Adrian Cardenas didn't impress management with a .689 OPS at Triple-A (in 207 PAs) in 2009.
Better the Devil You Know, I s'pose.

Tupac Track for the Season:
Soldier Like Me


throwdini said...

To be fair, I'm sure that you would kill to have 1970's Davey Lopes or 1990's Tony Phillips on the A's right now. They would bring in some great prospects at the trading deadline.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Yes, but, unfortunately we had the graying mustachioed 1980s version of Lopes and pre-good 1980s version of Phillips when they *were* in Oakland.


throwdini said...

What was the story with 80's Tony Phillips vs. 90's Phillips? Was it simply that he learned how to get walked? Also, I feel like he was pretty old towards the end, but it looks like he was still somewhat productive in his final season. Was there an injury or did he just, and get ready for a pun, walk away from the game?

That Bootleg Guy said...

Phillips was actually a decent little OBP machine in Oakland. Not great, but he posted a .346 OBP in his final four seasons with the A's. Considering the time, this wasn't bad.

In Detroit, Sparky Anderson stuck him in the leadoff spot and left him alone. With more playing time, he flourished.

Towards the end, though, Phillips had some issues. His mid-to-late 30s power surge always seemed a little odd to me (he set career highs for HRs at 35, then again at 36).

He reportedly aligned himself with Albert Belle while with the White Sox in '97 and alienated most of his teammates before he was dealt to the Angels - where he was busted in an Anaheim hotel for drug possession.

In his last year in the bigs with the A's, he was involved in a shady play on the basepaths in which he intentionally hooked the leg of the Mariners' Carlos Guillen during a rundown and tore Guillen's ACL.

Phillips broke his own leg in August of that year and I can't recall if he even got a sniff of interest that offseason.

throwdini said...

That was awesome. Thanks. Since I am pestering you with questions, here's a topic that I would like for you to write about some time: The Las Vegas/Portland/? A's? How does this affect you as a fan?

That Bootleg Guy said...

Personally, I still think it's either San Jose, Fremont, Oakland or bust for the A's.

I just don't believe either Portland or Vegas can support a team and/or build a stadium in this economic environment.

I live in San Diego and can only see the A's live in the Bay Area once a year, so while I'd like them to stay in Oakland, it's not for any other reason than continuity's sake.

I'd hate to see them leave, but if they can ever finalize stadium plans in SJ or Fremont, I'll go with 'em.