The Colorado Rockies have been pursuing a starting second baseman since the season ended, showing interest in Atlanta Braves utility player Martin Prado and former Rockies middle infielder Jamey Carroll in the past week. Their search is about to become more desperate, as Mark Ellis is nearing an agreement on a two year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.
Ellis, 34, was acquired by the Rockies in June from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for relief pitcher Bruce Billings. In a Rockies uniform, he hit a respectable .274 in 70 games, hitting six home runs and playing exceptional defense. Colorado had shown interest in retaining Ellis' services for next year, but suggested that he may be out of their price range on the free agent market.
If Olney's report is accurate, Ellis will be a member of the Dodgers for the next two seasons and will earn slightly more than $4.5 million per season over the life of the deal. As a Type B free agent, the Rockies will receive a supplemental first round selection in next year's June draft.
With Carroll and Ellis off the market, and with the Arizona Diamondbacks extending Aaron Hill to a two year deal on Sunday, the second base market has become increasingly competitive. Prado is a known trade candidate, and free agent Kelly Johnson is likely outside of the Rockies' declared budget. The options are becoming increasingly limited.