The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season. This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason. More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter. Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.
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Player: Mark Ellis
Season stats: 73 games, 202 PA, 15 R, 6 2B, 12 RBI, 4 SB, 14 BB, 38 K, .180/.253/.213 32 OPS+
Hero/Goat: Hero 3, Goat 1
Overall grade: D-
Positives: You know you are straining for positives when the best you can come up with is that he hit .218 away from Busch and .224 in June–and those are the good things…..hit .308 on a 2-0 count….didn’t make an error at second base and did a fairly solid job when he started out there.
Negatives: You don’t have to go much past that slash line to realize this section could get loaded down….hit .195 against left-handers, which undermined the idea of him at least spelling Kolten Wong against some of those pitchers….hit .138 in the second half, though he only got 32 plate appearances after the All-Star Game, which tells you all you really need to know about the season.
Overview: On paper, this looked like another stellar move for John Mozeliak. Ellis would come in, give Wong some help against tough lefties, provide some veteran leadership, and be a great option off the bench. Pretty much none of that actually panned out. In fact, it was the controversy of the early part of the year when Wong was sent to Memphis while Ellis was scuffling just as much.
Back during the winter, I wrote a post about Ellis because I kept forgetting he was on this team. I didn’t realize that was going to be prescient. In 10 years–heck, in three years–when people ask you to name who was on the 2014 Cardinals, you are never going to be able to come up with Ellis, even though he was on the team all year long. He never made an impression, never had much of an impact on this club. He had a good game, maybe two, but that was about it.
This might have been the first real chink in the armor of Mozeliak, though he’s always been stronger on trades than free agent signings anyway (as Ty Wigginton will attest). With some of the other moves of the summer, maybe this was less of a fluke and more of a sign.
Outlook: The last time Ellis was this bad, he bounced back to have tolerable years with Colorado and then Oakland. Somebody will take a flyer on him for the same reasons St. Louis did this year–history, veteran presence, bench strength–and possibly get a good reward. However, it seems pretty likely his last big payday was this year’s $5 million. Hopefully he invested wisely.