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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rickie Weeks

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

An injury prone Rickie Weeks was just signed to a four year, 38.5 million dollar deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Yippee. I understand the want to keep the core group of players together, but what happened to a hometown discount? Would any other major league team pay roughly ten million a year for an injury and error prone second baseman who hits less than .270 as a lead-off hitter? While Weeks had a fine season last year, this contract seems to come with a lot of risk.
The Brewers have a competent prospect behind Weeks in Eric Ferris; Ferris has been lighting up the minor leagues and Arizona Fall League. Though Ferris has little pop in his bat, he is a doubles machine (a really, really poor man's Ichiro Suzuki). Ferris is projected to be major league ready as early as this season, and by signing Weeks for so long, the Brewers are handcuffing the ability of Ferris.
There is one sneaky positive in this signing: Weeks has suddenly become a nice trade asset. For any team that needs a second baseman after this year, Weeks will probably be the first place that they look. The entire world and their sister knows that the Brewers' farm system is lacking, so trading Weeks for some quality minor league players would be a huge positive.
After Fielder leaves, there will be a major hole in the middle of the order, a hole that many fans expect Weeks to fill. If this move does occur, Weeks's value will diminish even further because a lead-off hitter is far more valuable than a mediocre third hitter. Weeks has shown a good amount of pop in his bat, but he strikes out far too often to be a above average middle of the order guy.
This deal shows what kind of money the Brewers have to give up to keep a decent talent in the organization. Too many good hitters and pitchers have left Milwaukee for similar money from bigger cities, and the Brewers are forced to overpay for any talent that is even willing to listen.
Celebrate for now, Cerveceros fans, but this deal will not look so sweet in two years.

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