As the deadline to set the 25-man roster came and went at Noon on Sunday, the San Francisco Giants finalized their roster by trading outfielder Jason Ellison to the Seattle Mariners for minor league left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley.
The trade sends the 29-year old Ellison away from the only organization he has ever played for, but to the team that he grew up watching in the state of Washington. "I'm actually extremely excited about it," Ellison said after learning of the move.. "It was a childhood dream to be a Mariner. I loved San Francisco. I'm going to miss everyone in the organization, but hopefully this is a good opportunity for me."
Ellison had a .412 batting average in 21 spring games in 2007, keeping his status as a Giant in question as he was out of options. Ellison also batted .403 in 2006’s spring season, but he batted only .222 in the regular season before being demoted back to Fresno. In 235 major league games, Ellison has batted .255 with 23 doubles, 3 triples, 7 home runs, and 18 stolen bases.
The Giants will assign Blackley to Triple-A Fresno. Blackley, 24, has been a starter for nearly his entire career, all with Seattle since signing as an undrafted free agent out of Australia in 2000. Blackley was the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year as a 20-year old in 2003, but his was hit hard in his major league debut the next season as a 21-year old and succumbed to a shoulder problem that required labrum surgery in 2005. He missed the 2005 season, but made 27 starts in 2007, putting up a 4.06 combined ERA, mostly back in Double-A.
Ellison was reportedly heavily pursued by three teams in trade, and rumors swirled around him and teammates Lance Niekro and Mark Sweeney as the roster decision loomed. Niekro and Sweeney had immense pressure on them put on by the signings of first basemen Rich Aurilia and Ryan Klesko, but Ellison was pressured as the Giants signed a full-time center fielder in Dave Roberts, and the red hot Todd Linden also proving that he could play center if needed.
To finish up the decisions, the Giants also assigned Sweeney to the 15-Man Disabled list after Sweeney batted a foul ball off of his right foot. Sweeney had X-rays on Thursday, and continued to require treatment through Sunday. The move is retroactive to March 29th, and he will be eligible to come off the list on April 13th. The move allows Niekro to make the team, and also allows the team to keep utility-man Kevin Frandsen, who also had a strong spring.
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