Four-Year Deal For Weeks Makes Sense
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting the Milwaukee Brewers have reached an agreement with second baseman Rickie Weeks on a four-year contract extension.
The deal buys out the first three years of free agency for Weeks plus possibly another, depending on how the option is set up.
By signing Weeks to a contract, they avoid an arbitration hearing for Weeks that was scheduled for Thursday. Weeks wanted to avoid contract negotiations once spring training started.
Previous reports had the Brewers and Weeks working on a deal anywhere from three to five years in length. The four-year deal makes sense as a middle ground for a couple reasons.
On one hand, it keeps Weeks under team control for at least the next four seasons. After his best season as a professional in 2010, Weeks is starting to show the potential and meeting the expectations everyone had for him when he was a first-round draft choice in 2003.
As a hitter, many would like to see Weeks’ strikeout rate decrease and his batting average rise, but indications from last season are that he can fill the leadoff-hitter role thanks to an increased slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
In the field, there’s still work to be done, but at least he’s made strides. And hopes are that his bat outweighs any deficiencies as a defender.
By not signing a guaranteed, five-year deal, it also gives the Brewers a little more flexibility with a player that has been injury prone over the course of his career, given Weeks doesn’t control the option. A tendon sheath injury to his wrist limited him to only 37 games in 2009.
There’s no word yet on the fifth, option year for Weeks, whether its a club option, player option or mutual.
The signing of Weeks would leave first baseman Prince Fielder as the biggest remaining question mark regarding player personnel beyond 2011. The Brewers’ control over Fielder is set to expire after this season, and he is expected by nearly everyone to test the free agent market.