Any evaluation of this trade must be kept in proper perspective. I’m guessing that the Rox are intending for this to be the first of several moves, and have no delusions about Mark Ellis turning this team around by himself. With that said, I think he’s is a very nice addition.
Coming into last night’s game, Rockies’ second basemen had a cumulative UZR of -4.4. That means the group of Jonathan Herrera, Chis Nelson, EY Jr., and Jose Lopez has given the Rockies below replacement level defense at second all season. Also, their UZR/150 at second is third worst in baseball. Everyone is aware that the Rox have been getting very little offense from second, but most don’t realize how bad the defense has been too. Last year, among all major league second basemen, Mark Ellis ranked third overall in UZR. He is a significant defensive upgrade. He will save some runs at second.
To be honest, I really don’t care about his bat. I know, at the very least, he will produce at a comparable level to the group they had. In my mind, this deal meets two key sets of criteria for any trade. First of all, he improves the team, and, second, they didn’t surrender more value than Ellis is worth. The Rockies gave up a reliever that was without a place on the big club.
Certainly, it would’ve been nice if the Rox acquired one of the top second basemen in the game and much of the fan base has been demanding such. However, that’s not realistic. Good offensive two-baggers are exceedingly difficult to find and franchises are very reluctant to let them go. So, instead of turning the fortunes with one dramatic move, O’Dowd will have to improve his team a piece at a time.
With the addition of Ellis, Colorado now has one of the better double play combinations in baseball. Ellis alone won’t win the Rockies the division, but he’s a step in the right direction. Some day, when Jonah Keri writes a book about how Dan O’Dowd shrewdly turned the 2011 Rockies into a World Series winner, he’ll write how the under the radar trade for Ellis started it all. Okay, so perhaps that’s a bit too optimistic, but this trade really does make them better and that’s the most important thing.
So, what’s the final verdict? Are you for or against this trade?