There’s still a fair bit of uncertainty in the Dodger infield. Alexander Guerrero is probably going to play second, but he might play somewhere else, or he might not be ready to be in the bigs at all, and Hanley Ramirez is probably going to play short, unless he plays third, in which case they need to find a shortstop, or otherwise find a third baseman, and…
…well, you get the point. So it’s not a surprise that the Dodgers are absolutely going to acquire at least one more infielder, and likely more if you consider that they don’t really have a bench right now, and that means all options are on the table.
That includes, according to Ken Rosenthal, the possibility of bringing back Mark Ellis. With the usual “sources!” caveat, it makes some sense; Ellis is hardly exciting, but he’s a known quantity, one who would come relatively cheaply compared to other options, and while there’s zero upside there, he’s not going to kill you either. One would hope the Dodgers could find a more interesting option, but if not, well, fine.
There’s just one issue there. Why not just exercise Ellis’ 2014 option when you had the chance? As we discussed at the time, it seemed like a good way to hedge your bets, keeping a backup plan around in case nothing else panned out, and then giving you the chance to trade him in the spring if there was no spot for him. Now that he’s on the open market, you can possibly see teams giving him a second year, and probably for more in total than the $5.75m he would have made under the option. More to the point, he’s officially a free agent, and signed free agents can’t be dealt until June 15 without their permission. Maybe Ellis would consent to a move, but it seems unlikely that he’d come back expecting to be dealt.
Again, it’s just conjecture at this point, and I imagine it’s more likely Ellis goes to a team that badly has a need for an everyday second baseman, like Kansas City or Toronto or Baltimore. So maybe this is nothing. But if it is something, it does seem like an odd strategy for the team to have chosen.