This is THE year for the Brewers. Just ask anyone. If they are going to win, it will be in 2011. It is a foregone conclusion that Prince Fielder will be leaving via free agency in 2012. If you're Doug Melvin, you're probably already coming up with a plan of attack for 2012 and beyond. At least I hope so, because that's what good General Managers do.
Melvin made the right moves this offseason, but he can't afford to take any missteps moving forward. The Brewers need to put their money where they will get the most bang for their buck. Dropping a tidy sum for multiple years on Rickie Weeks will not help the Brewers moving forward.
I like Rickie as a player and a person. I certainly won't claim otherwise, but there are three specific reasons that make keeping Weeks long-term an impractical notion.
1. A player who has played in only 65 percent of the possible games in a six-year career, is a terrible long-term investment.
You may have heard this before, but Weeks has only played in 130 games or more once in his career and that was in 2010. He put up great numbers, and he is a unique player. That is valuable to any team. The problem here is that you can't count on Rickie to be in the lineup day in and day out.
If you don't believe you can count on someone, why would you invest millions of dollars in him?
2. Even after all the work Weeks has put in, he is still a below-average defensive second baseman.
To most people it seems that he has improved so much, he must be pretty good by now. In actuality, he was so bad it was impossible for him not to get better. That's like a 500 lb. person losing 100 lbs. It's a major improvement, but still not very good. During the 2010 season, Weeks was third in errors for a second baseman in the NL.
3. Spending a lot of money on Weeks will make it harder to keep a solid pitching rotation together.
Now that Doug Melvin has finally realized that pitching wins championships, that is where he needs to invest the money. He needs to sign Shaun Marcum to an extension, which Marcum is open to. At the time of his trade to Milwaukee, Marcum and his agent were talking contract extension with the Blue Jays.
Not extending Weeks would also leave some wiggle room for an eventual contract extension with Zack Greinke as well. The Brewers would have flexibility with their payroll, as well as acquiring draft pick(s) upon Weeks signing with another club.
The Brewers and Rickie Weeks' agent, Greg Genske, had recently been discussing a contract extension, but those talks have been tabled for the time being. In my estimation, that is the prudent way to go to help maintain the future health of the franchise.