He is 26 years old. From Alabama. He was a teammate of Eric Sogard at Arizona State University. He has time at 2B/SS and OF. Last year, in his first "extended" time at the MLB level, he hit .242 w/ 2 HR and 1 SB in 120 AB. His line was .242/.313/.325 for an underwhelming .638 OPS. Of course we need to take into account that this was his first real taste.
His minor league numbers tell a different story. In 2 seasons at AAA, he hit .326 w/ 6 HR and 48 SB. He has very limited power, but excellent speed. He also has a career AAA OBP of .419. So where does he fit in?
The simple answer is 2015 and beyond. The A's will need some major middle infield help once this 2014 season ends. Jed Lowrie and Alberto Callaspo have expiring contracts. Leaving only Eric Sogard to cover our entire middle infield. Nick Punto has a 2015 option on his contract for $2.75mm, but let's face it, he will be 37 years old and he contributes below average offense. Unless he breaks out in 2014, I don't see much reason to pick up his option in 2015, let alone start him in 2015. Even if the A's pick up Punto's option, having Sogard or Punto as our 2B starter will be disastrous.
Money comes into play. Both Lowrie and Callaspo will require some cash to keep them around, Punto's option is $2.75mm, and Sogard will hit his first year of arbitration, which will give him a substantial raise. Jake Elmore, on the other hand, will still be on his rookie contract come 2015, getting almost league minimum. Elmore could also improve a lot over the course of 2014, as he is fairly new, and his BA is already close to .250. Worst case scenario he is just another Sogard utility man, probably putting up very similar numbers, but with a lot more speed on the bases. Best case scenario he breaks out, and becomes our starting 2B. The A's will be happy to have a player like him, especially since he will be getting paid league minimum either way.
The open market. After the 2014 season ends, these 2B will be Free Agents:
Not really much to play with there.
Addison Russell also comes into play at this point. We all hope he will be 100% ready to dominate come 2015, but there are no guarantees for anything. If he isn't ready to man SS in 2015, then Beane is stuck with a very prickly situation, as he now has holes at both SS and 2B. Having Jake Elmore around to match up with Sogard, and maybe Punto, will help ease his stress a little bit. The 2015 Free Agent class for SS also has much better pickings as a Plan B scenario, unlike the 2B class.
So there you have it. Jake Elmore fits in perfectly for the 2015 plan. Let's keep an eye on him, and see how he develops. You never know who might break out...