5 Reasons the Milwaukee Brewers Need to Trade Rickie Weeks
Rickie Weeks Needs to Be Dealt
I was in Miller Park when Rickie Weeks first took batting practice for the Milwaukee Brewers, having just been drafted number two overall. He hit lasers all over the place, producing a thunderous crack of the bat and endless echoes reverberating off the empty seats.
I've always liked Weeks as a professional, and I've defended him my fair share of times. He always worked hard, gave it his all to win and had a few great offensive seasons that displayed his talent, including the lone All-Star appearance in 2011.
With all that said, the Brewers need to cut bait and try to get whatever they can for him in a trade. If they want to get financial relief, they'll need to take little talent. If they want any kind of real prospect, then they need to eat more money. Either way, the writing is on the wall.
Milwaukee has made a couple of moves to indicate they're trying to "go for it" in 2014, and believe they can make the playoffs. If that's truly the case, Weeks doesn't have a place on the team for a handful of reasons. Of course, the apparent readiness of Scotter Gennett to take over the starting spot should make the decision easier. Though he'll go through plenty of struggles and growing pains, Gennett is a gamer that will do the little things to help win games.
At 31 years old, in the last year of his contract (save for the vesting option in 2015), time has simply caught up with Weeks. Like Corey Hart, Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy before him, who were all part of the core group of youngsters with Weeks a decade ago, the second baseman's time is up.
5. Injuries Adding Up
Back to 2005, Weeks tore the sheath in his right wrist. In 2006, it was thumb surgery followed by Weeks' torn cartilage in his knee in 2008. Then, 2009 saw him tear the sheath in his other wrist. Two years later he missed time with a severely sprained ankle. Finally, last season it was a torn hamstring tendon that ended his year in August. The effects and risk of injury are huge negatives at on the wrong side of 30.
4. The $11 Million Tag
The Brewers showed they can always add payroll with the Matt Garza signing, but that doesn't mean they should waste over $10 million. Nobody is taking on the whole contract, so the Brewers would need to be creative to shed some of the cash. A few million in savings could result in a deadline deal to make a playoff push.
3. Continuing Offensive Decline
His OPS has dropped every year since 2009, including his .663 mark last season. The past two years, the "power hitting" second baseman posted disheartening .400 and .357 slugging percentages. Even his OBP fell to .328 in 2012 and .300 in 2013. Finally, his strikeouts have gone up the last two seasons, striking out 26.3 percent of the time a year ago. All these stats are problematic for a guy whose only value is offense.
2. Worst Defense in Baseball
Weeks' defensive struggles are startling -- you can check out the details in this article from earlier this year. Basically, he's the worst second sacker in MLB as he fails to get to balls most others range for, kicks around routine grounders and often throws wildly thanks to some poor mechanics. Weeks consistently costs the Brewers precious runs on defense, making any substitute in the field an improvement.
1. Lack of Versatility
Weeks can't be a starter; however, he can only "play" second base, making him a poor bench guy as well. Especially in the National League, backup infielders need to be versatile, making Weeks an awful fit. The Brewers would be handicapped daily by essentially playing a guy short. Weeks' punchless bat and lack of defensive value or flexibility has forced him out of a role on the club.
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