Ellis started 206 games for the Dodgers over the last two seasons, batting .264/.328/.357 and finishing in the top five in the National League in fielding percentage at second base both years.
In 2013, Ellis batted .270/.323/.351 with six home runs and 48 RBIs in 126 games. He batted .250 (10 for 40) in the playoffs.
Ellis’ departure came as little surprise after the Dodgers signed free agent infielder Alexander Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract in October. Guerrero might not be ready to be the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman at the beginning of next season, but such a long-term commitment left little room for Ellis in the Dodgers’ infield the next four years — particularly after the Dodgers locked up third baseman Juan Uribe on Saturday.
Though Ellis’ offense can be replaced, the Dodgers will undoubtedly miss his defense. Ellis ranks fourth all-time in UZR/150 among major-league second baseman who have played at least 4,000 innings. He is second all-time in total defensive runs saved and UZR.
Ellis’ humble persona also played well in a full clubhouse of superstars.
Since the Dodgers have no real insurance if Guerrero falters, a veteran with major-league experience at second base becomes high on their off-season wish list. Brendan Harris, who signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training Nov. 18, could also figure into the major-league team’s plans.