MARK ELLIS, 36, second base
Final 2013 stats: .270 batting average, six home runs, 48 RBI, 46 runs, .323 on-base and .352 slugging percentages, and six errors.
Contract status: Free agent after his option was declined.
The good: Was a finalist for a Gold Glove. Hit everywhere in lineup but third and fourth, though mostly batted second, and reasonably well. Little offensive drop off at advancing years, actually hitting slightly better than his career .265 average. Hit .295 with men on base and .302 at Dodger Stadium.
Mature clubhouse presence and strong competitor.
The bad: Missed almost a month with a quad injury. Hit only .197 in the first inning, a problem for a No. 2 hitter.
What’s next: Unlikely anything as a Dodger, though General Manager Ned Colletti said he might still like him back in some role. Just not enough to pick up that $5.75 million option.
Since it appears the Dodgers are going to gamble on untested Cuban Alexander Guerrero at second, it’s possible the Dodgers could want Ellis back as a role player and fail safe. But Ellis may still find interest elsewhere as an everyday player.
The take: Ellis was steady on the field and OK at the plate. No one can really say they were disappointed with his season, since he pretty much gave the Dodgers exactly what they should have expected.
But Ellis was an average hitter at the end of his career, so the Dodgers had to look at the possibility of upgrading the position. If Guerrero hits as expected – still a decent “if” for someone who’s only played for Cuba – then that should be easy to attain.
Ellis gave the Dodgers superior second-base play and reasonable offense, so if this is the end as expected, it was still a solid two-year Dodger career. On a team with a record payroll and building a lineup of All-Stars, the Dodgers just understandably want more.