The Cardinals announced the signing of second baseman Mark Ellis to a one-year, $5.25 million contract yesterday, which should all but conclude their Hot Stove League moves.
Ellis, who will turn 37 next June, will head into the 2014 season as the Cardinals insurance policy for the unproven Kolten Wong.
The second base job is Wong's to lose and he will likely be the Cards opening day starter at second. However, should he falter, having Ellis as a backup plan will certainly help the team.
Ellis is a career .265/.330/.390 hitter across 11 MLB seasons and is generally considered a good defensive player. However, what is more important is that Ellis has fared well against lefties in his career, posting a .276/.348/.429 career line against them.
Thus, should Wong, who is left handed, struggle against lefties, Ellis could form a nice platoon with him.
What's more, Ellis does not show a significant drop off against righthanders, hitting .262/.324/.377 against them. Thus, should Wong require more minor league seasoning, Ellis can certainly hold down the fort until he's ready.
Overall, its a nice signing by the Cardinals. Sure, $5.25 million is not cheap for a backup player, but considering what else Ellis brings to the table, I feel its worth it.