The Milwaukee Brewers have a lot of young players that have earned a chance to get a shot at making the big league roster. This is especially true when it comes to their middle infielders. Having guys like Jean Segura and Scooter Gennett in the starting spots at shortstop and second base, respectively, is a luxury, but backing them both up are two young and inexperienced players in Hector Gomez and Luis Sardinas.
The number of free agents remaining is dwindling everyday and the number of free agent middle infielders is almost non-existent. The Brewers would only benefit from adding a middle infielder with some experience, a veteran guy that is sure handed defensively, to help out and mentor these young players; this guy is Mark Ellis.
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Ellis is 37 and will turn 38 in June and has enjoyed a lengthy career. It has span across 12 seasons and had the majority of the time spent with the Athletics. He has predominately been known as a second baseman but also has experience playing all four infield positions. While last season was statistically the worst season that Ellis has had, his career numbers are much more favorable.
Ellis has never had stellar numbers offensively. His career marks of .262/.327/.384 are very respectable for a 12 year veteran. His career high for home runs is 19, RBI is 76 (both in 2007), and his career high batting average for a season is .316 in 2005; all for the Athletics.
The place that Ellis would add real value to the Crew would be on the defensive end. Ellis has a career fielding percentage of .991 as a second baseman, which ranks 5th, all time. His career defensive WAR is 17.6, good for 69th all time, for players of all positions.
I think that the Brewers would be able to get Ellis at a very reasonable price. The last two seasons he has made $5.25 million, each season. Given that he had a very rough season offensively last year, and his increasing age, the Brewers could probably land Ellis on a minor league deal. This would be very manageable and could benefit the Brewers tremendously as they could give Ellis a shot at a job in Spring Training while still allowing their younger guys get more playing time.
Segura is an everyday player and has started 325 games for the Brewers at shortstop. He is by far the most experienced middle infielder the Brewers have, but has a career fielding percentage of .972. Gennett has clearly established himself as the everyday second baseman for the Brewers, starting 166 games there over the past two seasons. His career fielding percentage is very respectable, coming in at .981.
Behind these two established players is where the lack of experience really starts to show. Gomez, who is expected to make the opening day roster, has only played in 16 big league games, in his career, making only 5 starts. His career fielding percentage of .931 is skewed, as he has only had 29 chances. Sardinas is slightly more experienced, making 27 starts and 39 appearances for the Rangers. His career fielding percentage is .966, in limited opportunities.
Mark Ellis may not be the most appealing name in the free agent market, but he is someone who could help the Brewers in the 2015 season. Whether it be a spot start, a late pinch hit, or a defensive replacement, Ellis can contribute in many ways. Experience is something that goes a long way in helping the development of younger players, and I feel Ellis would do this with the youngsters that we have on the roster this year.