Update [2006-1-28 20:10:52 by louismg]:
A's officially announce signing: 2 Years, with 3rd Year club option
First of all, I think it's a terrific deal for the A's. Here's a guy who will probably regress in 2006, but will likely regress to a batting average of .285, an OBP of .350, and only 13 HRs, while remaining one of the more difficult batters in the AL to strike out. Ellis' defense will probably stay the same, meaning good range, excellent fundamentals, excellent judgment, and a below-average throwing arm, a combination that will put him in the upper 1/3 among AL second-basemen.
All for less than $4million/year. By the time Ellis' contract expires, teams will be paying guys like Joe Kennedy $4million/year, with incentive clauses that read, "a $500,000 bonus kicks in if he doesn't make more than 30 appearances". (That would be funny, wouldn't it--the ultimate insult?)
As for whether the A's will keep Ellis for the duration of his contract, it's always hard to predict but the pattern is that as long as a player is considerably better than his salary, the A's are "keep oriented". Due to his recurring back problems, Kotsay may face at 30 years old what other CFers don't face until years later: the loss of a step, the need to move to part-time. When this day hits, maybe next off-season, maybe the one after, Kots will no longer be better than his salary and he will likely be moved. Until then, he's a good deal at $7 million/year and he'll be kept. Same with Ellis. As long as Ellis is way better than a $4 million/year salary would suggest, the A's probably intend to keep him. And the relatively small sample size (due to missing 2004) suggests that Ellis will be well worth keeping throughout the duration of his contract.
It is remarkable how set the A's are for the next 3 years with players they want and can afford. Good time to be an A's fan.
See you at FanFest!