The St. Louis Cardinals have reached an agreement with free-agent second baseman Mark Ellis, according to a source. The one-year deal is pending a physical.
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Ellis, who played last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, provides protection for Kolten Wong, the 23-year-old infielder who batted .153 in 32 games last season. If Wong, who bats left, should struggle, Ellis provides a capable veteran presence from the right side of the plate. Ellis hit .270 with six home runs, 48 RBI and 46 runs in 126 games for the Dodgers in 2013.
The Dodgers retained third baseman Juan Uribe and reliever Brian Wilson, but now have lost Ellis, infielder Nick Punto, outfielder Skip Schumaker and outfielder Jerry Hairston, Jr. — four veterans who were strong clubhouse influences.
Ellis’ signing with St. Louis also removes another capable second basemen from the free-agent market, leaving the Yankees with few options to replace Robinson Cano at second base.
If the season started today, the Yankees’ starting second baseman would be Kelly Johnson. They lost out to the Royals on Omar Infante, and rejected a Brett Gardner-for-Brandon Phillips trade with the Reds.