The A’s will enter the 2012 season with a new energy at second-base with Jemile Weeks embarking on his first official full season as Oakland’s starting second-baseman. The memories left behind by Mark Ellis, however, will still remain.
Ellis, without a doubt, was one of the most well-liked A’s players in recent years. Ellis established himself, in my mind at least, as one of the premiere defensive second-basemen in the game during his career in Oakland. Like Eric Chavez, Ellis left his mark in Oakland as being a top-notch defender and an extremely popular player.
However, perhaps Ellis was a bit too much like Chavez. Both Ellis and Chavez struggled with injuries during their time in Oakland, with Chavez struggling to remain healthy in the latter part of his career in Oakland.
Ellis’ 2011 season wasn’t exactly a great one in Oakland. He was traded before the trade deadline this year to the Colorado Rockies after struggling offensively and struggling to remain healthy. In 62 games this season with the A’s, the veteran defender hit just .217/.253/.290 with one home run and 16 RBIs.
When Ellis went down with an injury this year, the A’s gave prospect Jemile Weeks a look. Weeks, upon his arrival, made quite the splash in Oakland, injecting a new life in a rather lifeless A’s lineup. It became apparent after his initial success that Weeks was well on his way to taking over Ellis’s job.
After making a recovery from the injury that sidelined him for most of June, Ellis played in three games after being activated from the DL. He spent a lot of time mentoring the young Jemile Weeks during spring training, and one of the reasons why Ellis, to me at least, was such a class-act was because of his humble demeanor.
Trading Ellis signified that the A’s were ready to embrace their future at second-base with Weeks. Parting ways with Ellis, however, wasn’t easy. The A’s lost a fine player in Ellis, who never got much credit for what he did in his career with Oakland.