Mark Ellis’s future in doubt after rough season

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Admittedly, veteran second baseman Mark Ellis had a difficult time living up to his track record with St. Louis in 2014. The former Athletics and Dodgers second baseman understood his role could be limited as expectations grew stronger for middle-infield Cardinals prospect Kolten Wong.

Ellis signed a 1-year, $5.5 million deal that arguably turned out to be one of the most disappointing contracts that the Cardinals have offered a bench player recently. He hit .180 with no home runs and 12 RBIs last year. Ellis’s career as a Cardinal and a ballplayer remain in jeopardy after being left off the postseason roster in both the National League Division Series and Championship Series.

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Perhaps Mark Ellis will be remembered as a Cardinal that was pushed too hard and never fully adjusted to the team atmosphere. He injured his left knee when testing himself to play third base in a rainy spring training contest. This injury forced him to the 15 day disabled list and symbolized Ellis’s fates in his one-year tenure.

After being rushed back from the disabled list, the second baseman’s average was never above the Mendoza line for more than three days. His experience didn’t result in clutch production either, as Ellis collected only 3 pinch hits with a .179 RISP batting average in 2014. Despite playing for a franchise that embraces winning, it was reasonably difficult for the 37-year old to rejuvenate his career and accustom to unfamiliar roles as a Cardinal.

According to a recent tweet from CBS Sports analyst, the veteran second baseman could play another year. But it’s almost anyone’s guess where exactly Ellis will land on the Baseball globe.

With a slim market for experienced middle infielders, the Cardinals will likely look to develop from within to account for Ellis’s vacancy. One probable solution is 26-year old Pete Kozma, who regained trust in the clubhouse after a strong September call up. The infielder may be a good fit temporarily since he is familiar with the club’s expectations and has valuable big league starting experience from 2013. Kozma made several adjustments to his offense and defense after being demoted to the minor-league affiliate Memphis Redbirds, making him a strong candidate to jump in when St. Louis’s middle infielders need off days.