Upon learning of his demotion last August, Jemile Weeks told the San Francisco Chronicle: “But at the end of the day, I’m going to be a star in this game, man.” The Oakland Athletics infielder went on to declare: “I don’t want to expound too much on it, but you’re looking at a star, period.”
At the time, Weeks was hitting .220 with a .302 OBP, which was good for second to last in the league. Predictably, he got absolutely killed for that sound bite.
I bring this up because over the weekend Susan Slusser reported that the former top prospect is very much available to be traded. It’s certainly well-known that Weeks has tumbled down the organizational depth chart; so Slusser’s report that Weeks doesn’t really figure into the club’s plans going forward may just have been a reporter helping spread the word that Weeks is absolutely on the block.
But when you think about just how unsettled the team’s middle infield situation has been, it seems pretty odd that the Athletics are so desperate to offload Weeks. Then again, maybe it’s not so much a matter of desperation as it is GM Billy Beane realizing that Weeks is one of his most valuable trade pieces. Maybe Beane is just angling to flip Weeks for a reliever or even another infielder.
Even if that is the case, I can’t help but wonder what exactly Weeks did to get buried so deep and so fast within the organization. So I went back over his now infamous “Star” speech, and I have to say, I don’t see what the big deal is.
Could Weeks have demonstrated more humility on his way out of Oakland? Sure. But since when did being excessively self-confident count against a professional athlete? Another Athletics flyer famously described himself as “the greatest of all time.” Rickey Henderson, of course, might just have been right about that one.
But to be fair to Weeks, the guy kind of was a rising star. He’d hit .303 as a rookie and he swiped 22 bags. It was that explosive speed that made Weeks a disruptive force on the base paths and a dynamic player in 2011.
Of course, I can also see how Weeks’ words could be construed as arrogant, but I think they could just as easily be interpreted as confident. I suspect that Weeks sincerely believed, and probably still does, that he was a star. I also suspect that it was because of that attitude, not in spite of it, that Weeks excelled at the University of Miami, got drafted 12th overall and ascended to the majors with the Athletics in the first place.
So just what exactly has the star been up to in 2013? With his .269 average for the Sacramento River Cats, Weeks hasn’t exactly been lighting up Triple-A. But when you take a closer look at his numbers, he kind of has been.
This season, Weeks is 11 for 12 on stolen base attempts, has a .391 OBP, is second on the team in walks and he’s tied for the lead in runs scored. It seems Jemile Weeks is back to doing what Jemile Weeks does best: getting on base and scoring runs. When you think about it, those are the two most important contributions any position player can make.
Oh, and he’s added shortstop to his game as well. Quietly, and that’s the key word, Weeks has enjoyed a pretty awesome 2013.
I’m not sure why the team wants to get rid of a guy who can switch-hit, run, get on base and score runs, but then again, Beane is never wrong. So there must be some behind-the-scenes explanation that, well, explains it all. Because from my perspective, getting rid of Weeks doesn’t make any sense.