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It sounds extreme, but dealing Weeks could land A's real value
Many will scoff at my number two suggestion, but here it is: The A's should trade Jemile Weeks. Seems silly to deal a guy entering his prime while under club control, but there are legitimate reasons to do so.
The biggest reason is that Weeks' biggest value is that of a speedy lead-off catalyst that can steal bases and wreak havoc at the top of the lineup. Only problem is, Oakland already has a better version of that in Coco Crisp. This isn't a knee jerk reaction to the sophomore slump Weeks suffered in 2012.
No, this is a more long range view. Much of what Weeks did in 2011 was attributed to some generous things going his way. Notably, his .303 batting average was built on the strength of a .350 BABIP (batting average of balls in play) in 2011. That was almost 60 points above the league average and almost universally deemed unsustainable.
In 2012, Weeks' BABIP plummeted to .258 and so did his average and ability to reach base. He doesn't draw many walks and far too often tries to elevate the ball instead of slashing it to all fields.
Now, this would be offset if he was a premium defender at second base. But the stats reveal that Weeks is 17th among second basemen in UZR (ultimate zone rating) with a -.7.2 rating. In essence, that means his defense cost the A's 7.2 runs over the course of the season.
So why do you attempt to trade a guy like that and expect to receive something of value in return? Simple. Baseball is still a game of potential and prospects. Weeks would be coveted for his age (26 in January), contract (pre-arbitration eligible, 1 yr/$483,000), and potential. A young, energetic second baseman is still a valuable asset. Oakland could try to address other needs by dealing Weeks or improve their farm system.
Most of all, it would allow Cliff Pennington to move to second base full time. That sets up my number one key to sustained success in 2013. Well, sort of.