It’s extremely early in the 2014 season, but Rickie Weeks looks no different than he has the past two years. His poor defensive play, disappearing bat and inability to play anywhere but second base is a big problem for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers’ defense struggled as a whole in Boston and Weeks contributed as usual in Sunday’s finale.
First he was charged with a throwing error early in the game when he bounced a toss to first that skipped past Lyle Overbay and allowed the runner to reach second. Then the 31-year-old failed to convert on a double-play ball, barely retiring the hitter at first base and sparing himself a second error on the afternoon.
He also had another weak toss to first after “ranging” to grab a grounder, but his throw was late and well off target. The same flawed mechanics in the field continue to be an issue for Weeks, whether it’s a slow first step, a bad angle, poor footwork or an ugly throw.
Meanwhile, Scooter Gennett has proven to be a solid glove in his handful of starts. It’s also plain to see the quickness and actual range Gennett brings to the party compared to Weeks. If Ron Roenicke is honest and stays true to his word of playing the hot hand, Weeks won’t have much to do in a few (pardon the pun) weeks.
That’s because the 23-year-old Gennett is also swinging the bat far better than his veteran counterpart. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but Gennett is hitting .286 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and a run scored. He also laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt on Friday to set up the Brewers’ game-winning rally in the ninth inning at Fenway Park.
He even collected a hit off a lefty on opening day, something that will probably be a struggle for him in the long run.
Weeks, however, is batting an even .100 after a 0-for-4 day at the plate on Sunday. He has three strikeouts and no walks in his 10 plate appearances. He’s rarely hitting the ball with any authority and is mainly hitting routine grounders.
His lack of versatility, along with Gennett’s, has also handcuffed Roenicke with lineup decisions and in-game switches. Especially with Ryan Braun dealing with a thumb issue and Jean Segura monitoring his sore shoulder, the Brewers would be far better off with Elian Herrera as another bench player.
Herrera can play second, third and shortstop as well as the outfield, whereas Weeks has no option to contribute anywhere else.
Milwaukee’s best chance to pawn Weeks off for something of note, either a player or financial relief, was during the spring when everyone was excited to see him stinging the baseball. Now the Brewers might be lucky to get anything worthwhile for Weeks.
Still, they’d be wise to move him somehow, someway as he continues to be a negative value and hurt the club.