While the A’s have faced many hurdles this season, they still face an even bigger challenge over the next couple of days. The A’s have been building towards the future, dating back to the team’s decision to trade Dan Haren following the 2007 season. Since the Haren trade, the Athletics have acquired such players as Gio Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, Michael Taylor, and a few others.
This youth movement, led by GM Billy Beane, is helping shape the organization’s future, but is also marking the end for such players like 2B Mark Ellis. Ellis, 34, is currently scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled-list on Wednesday, but it is still unknown whether or not he’ll assume a starting role with the team.
2B Jemile Weeks, called up shortly after Ellis went down with a hamstring injury, is batting .344/.364/.594 with five RBIs in nine games this season. While that’s a very small sample size, Weeks hasn’t underperformed by any means, and his performance doesn’t warrant a demotion to Triple-A.
With Weeks performing well, the A’s face a very tough decision regarding Ellis’ future with the club this year. Prior to landing on the DL, Ellis was batting just .211/.245/.287 with one home run and 15 RBIs. Ellis is regarded as a team leader, and unofficial team captain. He’s also one of the better fielding second baseman in the league.
For a team like Oakland, one that ranks 26th in baseball in runs scored (254), Weeks looks like the better option at second right now. Ellis, 34, hasn’t played well offensively this season, and while his defense his highly valued by the organization, the A’s need more production on offense. The A’s have been rather quiet about Ellis’ playing time situation once the veteran comes off the DL next week, but it’s likely that this year is Ellis’ last season in Oakland.
Several reports, including one by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, indicate that the A’s could possibly end up trading Ellis to another team. One team mentioned was the reigning World Series Champion Giants.
Ellis is expected to start a rehab assignment with the team’s Triple-A affiliate on Saturday.