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Decisions, Decisions (Roster and Medical)

June 13, 2011


Very quickly, the A’s had good news today. Following Brett Anderson‘s meeting with Dr. James Andrews, Brett won’t require surgery on his left elbow but instead will undergo six weeks of rehab and there is no damage to his ulnar collateral ligament. He will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection to help ease soreness and speed his recovery. So that was a decision made by the good doctor for Anderson onto the next decision that must be made by the A’s organization.

In Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle, Susan Slusser wrote about a subject I have been thinking about the past few days – the return of Mark Ellis. I haven’t really been thinking so much of Ellis’ return to be honest – who is anxious to get a .211/.245/.287 bat back in the lineup? Who is anxious to get a guy who is ranked last among qualifying second basemen in wRC+ (51), wOBA (.245)? Who is anxious to get a player who has the only negative WAR among qualifying second basemen with positive fielding numbers (-0.1)? No one is anxious to get that back really. But the reason I have been thinking about it is because we’ve had Jemile Weeks replacing him. Just six games into his MLB career he has been an exciting player to watch. His two triples already top Ellis’ one despite having 201 few plate appearances. Already in just six games he has topped Ellis’ WAR being at 0.2. For a team concerned with OBP, his 4.3% BB% may not seem like much but tops Ellis’ 3.6%. We all doubt he will keep up his .333/.364/.571 slash line or his .378 wOBA or 143 wRC+ but we also have no doubt his numbers will be higher than the pittance Ellis has brought to the table in 2011.

Ellis is eligible to come back June 22nd and a lot can change by then, but there appear to be no setbacks in his recovery. The A’s season is all but lost as I highlighted in yesterday’s live blog writing,

“If the Rangers play mere .500 baseball for the rest of the year, they would finish 84-78. The A’s would still need to go 57-39 to win the division or play at .594 clip. So while baseball may be a marathon, and there may be “lots left to play” (nearly 2/3 of the season really). You can see how big a hole they’ve dug themselves already this year, and that is just assuming Texas goes .500 here on out, and wins a mere 84 games.”

With the season lost it is imperative the A’s look to the future and Jemile Weeks represents the future. Today Buster Olney had a tweet about Ellis a candidate to be moved as his contract is up at the conclusion of this season he tweeted,

“Connect the dots:SF looking for INF solutions, in the aftermath of [Freddy] Sanchez injury; OAK’s Mark Ellis probably will lose ABs to Weeks/[Scott] Sizemore

The A’s need to get rid of Ellis, they need to get rid of a lot of guys and prepare for 2012. Mark Ellis does have a no trade clause, it is unknown who is on that list, but being able to play for a contender and remain in the Bay Area doesn’t seem as if it would make San Francisco necessarily a hard sell. In another article today titled “If The Athletics Become Sellers” on the author Tim Dierkes speculated about Ellis that,

“Second baseman Mark Ellis is on the DL with a strained right hamstring.  His $6MM salary will be prohibitive unless he starts raking upon his return.  With Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore joining Oakland’s second base mix, shopping Ellis makes sense if he gets healthy.”

I disagree with his analysis here. The $6M may be prohibitive, but the A’s can eat that, its a sunk cost so to speak. Where I disagree most vehemently however is the “unless he starts raking upon his return” part. Ellis has two options really with the A’s, he can be their starting second baseman, or he can be not on the Oakland Athletics. I say this not be harsh, but to be realistic, Mark Ellis has played a total of 132 of his career 8932 1/3 innings at somewhere other than second base. In 2006 he played three innings at first base. Prior to that in 2005 he spent minimal time at both first (three innings) and shortstop (44 innings), and even before that way back in 2002 as a young 25 year old he spent 63 innings at third base and 19 at shortstop. This is all pointed out to say this guy isn’t going to be your backup infielder. So a choice needs to be made, keep Ellis or keep Weeks? There is no long term benefit to keeping Ellis – I think the decision is clear Billy Beane should not fall into the trap many a general manager makes of keeping a declining player around because they’ve been with the organization so long – he needs to keep Weeks.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2011 2:00 pm

    this is a tough one. i don’t think we’ve seen enough of weeks to really know, though i totally agree- he’s been exciting so far. the a’s REALLY need exciting. i like him, and hope he’ll stay like this. he kinda seems like a rosales, but with talent.

    i’m a long time ellis fan- until this year, he’s been a rock defense-wise, and i think the way the team is playing as a whole is affecting his (and everyone’s) defense. he has sucked at the plate, as has everyone else. chicken or egg? i like having him around as a guy who’s been around the team.

    i don’t think sizemore was a good move. he sucks defensively, and i think he needs to go. the defense is killing the team as it really hurts the pitching, and with the lack of offense, the last thing the a’s need to do is give the other team more runs.

  2. June 14, 2011 9:37 pm

    Thanks for reading and dropping a comment. Yeah you are right we haven’t seen much of Weeks – but that also is sort of the point I think. I too love Mark Ellis, but is he going to be re-signed? More importantly should he be? I think not. So why not begin the future now? Let Weeks get his ABs in while there is nothing to lose. Let him get familiar with MLB hitting. So even if Weeks started to struggle right now, unless he started looking overmatched, I’d say we ought to keep him and let him get more playing time. It isn’t so much an indictment of Ellis as it is an indictment of the state of the A’s that Ellis is rendered sort of useless.

    I’m not with you on Sizemore. I agree his defense is bad, and the defense is hurting the pitching, but… I love his OBP. Right now I’d be willing to sacrifice some defense for some hitting as we are SO weak there. That being said he hasn’t yet proven he can be a capable MLB hitter so the jury is out there, but I like him over Rosales and certainly like him over Kouzmanoff. I think Adrian Cardenas is a bit of a head case (he struggles every jump he makes massively before going back down and raking and then coming back up and doing ok) so I think Sizemore is likely the best bet we got at this point. Keep commenting, love hearing the thoughts of others.

    • June 15, 2011 11:50 am

      hey- i like EVERYONE over kouzmanoff, that’s a given. but i think the defense is a huge reason the a’s are a disaster this year, and it’s hurting the pitching, which was the only plus on this craptastic team. i know they need *someone* at third, but i’m not sure why it’s not conor jackson, who in theory could hit, or really, anyone who could field that position. i think sizemore’s already made 5 errors in 22 games (do i read this right? which is maybe even worse than kouz…) and he’s an old rookie. no upside, really, unless you’re talking about just the rest of this already lost year.

      i love your blog- i think we’re probably a’s contemporaries. i loved that van poppel rookie card and was also sorely disappointed. i forget where i found the blog- baseball oakland, maybe? and added it to my blog list on i’ll be at the game tomorrow, probably crying my eyes out that we can’t even beat the royals, and again on sunday. keep it up!

      • June 15, 2011 12:49 pm

        Yeah, I like the idea of Conor Jackson at third. It frees up a bit of the DeJesus/Jackson/Sweeney log jam in right. Now is Sizemore is an old rookie with no upside? I don’t know, because there’s plenty of Nelson Cruz’ and Jayson Werth’s out there that tell you to not bail on a guy. I think his upside is being a 10HR or so guy with a high average and OBP, is that a terrible thing, no? But for a team that is looking for more pop it might be. I am content with him for now. I think a contender could have him at third, that said, I wouldn’t build a franchise around Scott Sizemore. He is a pretty lousy fielder, and yes he does have five errors in very limited time, but, even though it hurts the pitching, I mean look we had lights out pitching and terrible defense and lots of losses to start the year. We didn’t win purely because of the offense in April and May. So, it is a sacrifice I am still willing to make.

        I appreciate the compliment and look forward to you stopping in again!

  3. June 15, 2011 2:11 pm

    jayson werth is an interesting comparison. the phillies are my backup team (turning into my team this year, but it will never happen). the talk in offseason about werth coming to the a’s was KILLING me: just what we needed was another dude striking out all the time!

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