Mark Ellis may be finished in Oakland after nine seasons


Mark Ellis has spent his entire nine-year career in Oakland, making him the longest-tenured A’s player on the active roster, but as Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News writes he may not be back in 2011.
Ellis is finishing up a two-year, $11 million contract and the A’s have a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout for next season. Ellis is 33 years old, will fail to be healthy for 125-plus games for the seventh time in nine seasons, and is hitting just .268/.339/.345 for the lowest OPS of his career and the third-worst OPS among AL second basemen, so Oakland choosing the buyout seems likely.
“Numbers-wise, it hasn’t been good,” Ellis told Stiglich. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re going to do what they want to do. Obviously I like it here. This is where I want to be. I just do what I can to help the team win, and that stuff will work itself out.”
Stiglich speculates that the A’s could decline Ellis’ option and then attempt to re-sign him at a lesser price, but his age and declining performance may be as big a factor as the money. Plus, the A’s have several young second basemen like Adrian Cardenas, Jemile Weeks, and Eric Sogard who could be close to MLB ready.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.