Mark Ellis to San Francisco?
Mark Ellis is due to come off of the disabled list tomorrow with the A’s in Flushing to face the Mets. Meanwhile perhaps the most exciting player wearing the green and gold for these resurgent Athletics is Jemile Weeks – the new starting second baseman. A decision must be made, do the A’s keep the catalyst Weeks in the lineup or return the underperforming veteran Mark Ellis back in the spot that has so long been his?
To me the decision is a simple one, Weeks needs to stay. Which means that Ellis is expendable. In a throwaway line in an article this morning Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote,
“For now, it appears the Giants are focused on finding a catcher (though a source said they asked questions about Oakland second baseman Mark Ellis over the weekend).”
The Giants need a catcher due to the loss of Buster Posey and a second baseman due to the loss of Freddy Sanchez. The Giants themselves had to have seen this weekend that Jemile Weeks is threatening Ellis’ continued tenure with Oakland. Ellis, who apparently lives in San Francisco near AT&T Park, has a no-trade clause that presumably he’d waive to stay close to home with a contender. That all being said the biggest detriment to any team acquiring Ellis may be his salary of $6M. Currently, with such a poor season underway, Ellis has been worth -$200K as per Fangraphs. Apparently being worth exactly 0.0 WAR does not equate to being worth nothing but being worth less than that.
Ellis’ slash line is currently .211/.245/.287 he is still an above average defender, but has a pathetic 52 wRC+ and an equally anemic wOBA of .245. This is exactly why the A’s need to get rid of him, but also is what makes him and his $6M bill tough to move. If the A’s find a suitor in San Francisco, even if they need to pay a bit of this salary to make it work, it is a deal that should be done. Ellis has been a fantastic player for many years but his time in Oakland has come to its end. In the same article, Schulman also opined that the Giants also may be interest in another Athletic, Landon Powell labeling him with other catchers as an “obvious target”, writing,
Perhaps packaging Landon Powell (who must’ve wowed Giants viewers with his home run Sunday off Jeremy Affeldt along with his near home run off Matt Cain) with Ellis makes this deal more palatable for the Giants ledger?
For now my guess is that Ellis will be activated tomorrow. The corresponding roster move will be demoting the struggling Daric Barton to Sacramento. Conor Jackson will serve as a full(er) time first baseman allowing Ryan Sweeney and David DeJesus to share time in right field and perhaps Mark Ellis serves temporarily in an uncomfortable backup infielder role, but primary tutor to Jemile Weeks buying the A’s time so they can eventually deal him (probably to San Francisco) or release him giving the full-time role to Weeks no questions asked.