The Brewers and a representative for second baseman Rickie Weeks have been kicking around ideas about a contract extension that would span 3-5 years, a source told FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal on Tuesday.
Weeks remains unsigned and faces an arbitration hearing on Thursday if the sides cannot reach terms on a new contract. They have bounced between discussions on a multi-year extension for Weeks, who is currently on track to reach free agency after the 2011 season, and a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
The Brewers’ preference, especially because first baseman Prince Fielder is also entering his final year of arbitration, is the multi-year extension. The trouble is finding a proper value for Weeks, who is coming off a breakthrough 2010 season but before that struggled with various injuries.
Weeks, who earned $2.75 million last season, filed for a raise to $7.2 million in arbitration. The Brewers countered at $4.85 million.
The Weeks camp, led by agent Greg Genske, has not returned reporters’ calls for comment. Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash has been the team’s point man on the Weeks talks, and told Rosenthal earlier Tuesday that the sides were, “making progress. We’re not done yet. We’re inching our way.”
A three-year deal would buy out two of Weeks’ free agent seasons. The team struck a similar agreement last summer with right fielder Corey Hart, who inked a three-year, $26 million extension in early August.
A five-year deal would no doubt prompt some comparisons to the Braves’ recent five-year, $62 million agreement with second baseman Dan Uggla. Both Weeks and Uggla ended last season with five-plus years of Major League service and were coming off comparable 2010 campaigns. But the difference, Brewers officials say, is that Uggla has been remarkably productive over all five of his seasons in the big leagues, while Weeks’ output has been hampered by hand and wrist injuries.
If the Brewers and Genske are unable to agree, they would square-off in a hearing room on Thursday in Phoenix. Both sides would present a case to a three-member panel of judges, which would select one figure or the other in a ruling rendered Friday.