Results tagged ‘ Rickie Weeks ’

Brewers, Weeks table multiyear talks

Assistant general manager Gord Ash just said that because the Brewers and representatives for second baseman Rickie Weeks have been unable to find common ground in talks about a multi-year extension, the sides have mutually agreed to change course and focus on a one-year deal for 2011. 
The framework for that discussion was put in place Tuesday, when teams and their unsigned arbitration-eligible players swapped figures. Weeks is seeking 7.2 million in arbitration, and the Brewers offered $4.85 million. 
Ash spoke with agent Greg Genske earlier Tuesday and Genske suggested “that it would probably be best, given our differences on a multi-year deal, to focus on a one-year deal but keep the options open in terms of revisiting a one-year deal,” Ash said. “So that’s the way we’ll proceed. We’ll try to get something done for this year and then continue to talk longer-term and use this as a placeholder, perhaps.”
Weeks is coming off a career year in 2010 in which he earned $2.75 million. After playing only 37 games in 2009 before undergoing wrist surgery, Weeks played 160 of the Brewers’ 162 games and batted .269 with a .366 on-base percentage, 112 runs scored, 29 home runs and 83 RBIs. 
He led the Majors and set a Brewers record with 754 plate appearances and led the Majors in home runs (28), RBIs (81) and runs scored (110) from the leadoff spot.
It was the kind of season the Brewers foresaw when they made Weeks the second overall pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. Injuries — mostly to Weeks’ hands and wrists — had slowed his ascent to that level. 
For now, the sides disagree on how Weeks should be valued. Should more emphasis be placed on his “platform year” production in 2010 — a career year in which Weeks set a club record for plate appearances and career highs for home runs (29) and runs scored (112)? Or should the focus be his “length and consistency of career contribution” — which has been marred by injuries, mostly to his hands and wrists? 
Both are factors in valuing an arbitration-eligible player, per Major League Baseball’s Basic Agreement. 
Genske has not returned messages from since taking over Weeks’ representation in September. Ash discussed his view on Tuesday evening. 
“Rickie had a good year — there’s no question about that,” Ash said. “But the criteria also talks about the consistency of your career as well, so we should take that into account. That’s not as stellar as his so-called ‘platform season.’ We’ll continue to look at it.” 
The Brewers and Genske faced differences of opinion in both years and dollars, Ash said, though the discrepancy is larger in the dollars. 
“There’s a lot of negotiating that has to go on,” Ash said. “He’s looking at the player Rickie was this year and [assuming] he will be that going forward. Clearly, Rickie is a player we really value in terms of his dedication and his professionalism and his approach to the game, but we’ve had some uneven history here in terms of performance. 
“So, we’re willing to go and extend, but there’s a limit to the level we’re willing to extend. We’ll have to work our way through that if we can. We still have time, but if there’s a belief on Genske’s side that Rickie Weeks is similar to Dan Uggla, then we’re going to have a problem.” 
Uggla, traded by the Marlins to the Braves this offseason, finalized a five-year, $62 million contract extension earlier this month. His 2010 season was quite similar to Weeks’ in terms of home runs and on-base percentage, but the Brewers would point out that Uggla has played at least 146 games in each of his five big league seasons and has never belted fewer than 27 home runs. 
Weeks has played more than 100 games three times and has undergone four surgeries. 
“The facts are that Uggla is in a different salary level — he’s an elite player,” Ash said. “He can compare himself to some Hall of Fame players. He’s had an historic start. Rickie — we love him, but he’s not to that level yet.” 
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Arbitration figures with midpoints

The Brewers avoided arbitration with Prince Fielder and Manny Parra on Tuesday but were unable to strike deals with three other eligible players, pushing second baseman Rickie Weeks, starter Shaun Marcum and reliever Kameron Loe one step closer to a hearing. 
Unable to reach terms before a Tuesday afternoon deadline, each of those unsigned players exchanged 2011 contract proposals with the Brewers:
— Weeks filed for $7.2 million and the Brewers countered at $4.85 million, a gap of $2.35 million. The midpoint of figures is $6.025 million. 
— Marcum is seeking $5 million and the Brewers offered $3 million. The midpoint is $4 million.
— Loe filed for $1.65 million and the Brewers offered $1.055 million, a $595,000 gap. The midpoint is $1.3525 million.
After figures are exchanged, the next step in the arbitration process is a hearing date in February, a conclusion the Brewers hope to avoid. The sides can continue negotiating until that date, and in the vast majority of cases around baseball, they reach an agreement somewhere between the filing figures. 
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Brewers begin talks on Weeks extension

The Brewers had a productive meeting with Greg Genske, the agent for second baseman Rickie Weeks, on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings and club officials remain cautiously optimistic about reaching a contract extension. 
“We had a productive meeting and we have agreed to continue to talk,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said. 
Asked whether contract proposals had been exchanged, Ash said, “I think we’re going to leave it at, we have reason to continue to talk.”
Weeks is arbitration-eligible this winter after earning $2.75 million last year. He will be a free agent after the 2011 season. 
So the Brewers and Genske have two options. Either come to an agreement on a multi-year extension that would buy out one or some of Weeks’ free agent seasons, something the club has already done with left fielder Ryan Braun, right-fielder Corey Hart and No. 1 starter Yovani Gallardo, or settle for a one-year contract to avoid arbitration. 
The Brewers prefer the long-term option, but talks with Genske are complicated by the difficulty in valuing Weeks, the second overall pick in the 2003 Draft. On one hand, he’s coming off the finest season of his career, having set career-highs in runs (112), hits (175), doubles (32), home runs (29), RBIs (83) and hit by pitches (25). Weeks was healthy all year and broke Paul Molitor’s 19-year old franchise record for plate appearances.
But before that, Weeks’ career had been marred by injuries.
Weeks was promoted to the Majors for good midway through the 2005 season and immediately ran into trouble with injuries. He had surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb at the end of the season, and had another procedure in 2006 to repair a tendon in his right wrist. He spent a bit less than three weeks on the disabled list in 2007 with tendonitis in that wrist as scar tissue broke up. He injured his left knee during the 2008 National League Division Series and needed surgery to repair his meniscus. And in 2009, he was lost for the season on May 17 to a left wrist injury that needed yet another surgery, the same procedure Weeks underwent nearly three years earlier on the other hand. 
In 2010, Weeks finally stayed healthy for a Major League-best 754 plate appearances and proved one of baseball’s best offensive second basemen. 
It makes finding a “comp” for Weeks — a comparable player for valuation purposes — somewhat complicated. 
“He is [tough] because of his capabilities, what he did last year, he hasn’t been able to do on a consistent basis because of injury,” Ash said. “It’s an interesting situation. … 
“It’s a different discussion if it’s a one-year discussion as an arbitration player versus a multi-year discussion. Arbitration is clearly, ‘What have you done to date?’ Free agency obviously is, ‘What do you think the guy is worth going forward?'”
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Crew cuts ties with Coffey, Inglett

If Todd Coffey makes another mad dash from the bullpen to the pitcher’s mound at Miller Park, it will probably be in another team’s uniform. 
Coffey and utility man Joe Inglett were the only two of eight arbitration-eligible Brewers not tendered a contract before Thursday’s 10:59 p.m. CT deadline for teams to do so. The decision means the right-handed reliever and the left-handed bench bat joined the pool of Major League free agents. 
The Brewers did decide to retain the rights to their six other arbitration-eligibles: First baseman Prince Fielder, second baseman Rickie Weeks, center fielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Manny Parra, Kameron Loe and Carlos Villanueva. Those players are all considered signed for 2011, with their salaries to be determined later by baseball’s arbitration process. 
“We didn’t have many discussions about [non-tendering] the other players,” Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. 
Melvin said general manager Gord Ash will stay in touch with Inglett’s agent, Ryan Ware, about returning at a lower price, but it appears Coffey will look for work elsewhere. 
The decision to cut ties with Coffey was largely a financial one. He earned $2,025,002 in 2010 and would have been in line for a raise in arbitration despite a somewhat disappointing season in which Coffey suffered a thumb injury swinging the bat in late May and posted a 5.35 ERA over his final 43 appearances. He lost his job as the team’s primary right-handed setup man to Loe, who had a solid first season in Milwaukee and will cost less than Coffey in 2011. 
“The process allows the player to see if there’s a better fit for him, and from our standpoint it allows us to look at a larger pool of players,” Melvin said. 
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Melvin on the slow pace of Weeks talks

The Brewers would love to lock-up second baseman Rickie Weeks with a multi-year contract extension but are having trouble getting those talks started, general manager Doug Melvin said this week. 
“We’re working on getting Rickie signed,” Melvin told the sports radio station WSSP on Tuesday morning. “He’s got a new agent, Greg Genske, who is CC Sabathia’s agent, so it’s going to be a lot tougher than his previous agent [Lon Babby]. 
“[Genske] doesn’t respond as quick. But we’ll be working on it.” 
Weeks, the second overall pick in the 2003 Draft, was forced to select new representation after Babby took over as the president of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. 
The Brewers had a similar experience with Genske and associate Brian Peters in the lead-up to the 2008 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, where they finally got a sit-down and pushed hard for Sabathia to re-sign. Sabathia instead inked a richer deal with the Yankees.
Melvin earlier this week assigned the task of reaching Genske and determining Weeks’ asking price to assistant general manager Gord Ash. Melvin expects to meet in person next week at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. 
Weeks, for his part, told last month that he’s open to the idea of an extension. Genske was not available on Thursday. 
“I’ve had one meeting with [Genske], and he said that he’s interested in a long-term deal,” Melvin said. “But once players get close to free agency, they get a little less interested in trying to sign up because they’re so close to free agency and they’ve got some security under their belt.” 
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Braun out of Brewers lineup

Left fielder Ryan Braun is not in the lineup for the opener of a four-game series of the Marlins that will mark the end of Milwaukee’s home season. Braun was struck near the left elbow with a pitch in Wednesday’s rout of the Reds, a plunking that conjured memories of the Tommy Hanson pitch that hit Braun’s elbow in May and sapped the All-Star’s power. 

With Braun out and the Brewers facing the non-contending Marlins, manager Ken Macha got creative with his lineup. Rickie Weeks is making his third start in the three-hole (the Brewers have lost the other two), Lorenzo Cain is making his second start as the leadoff man (0-1) and Mat Gamel will play his first career innings in the outfield. He’s replacing Braun in left field. 
Here’s the full lineup:

Lorenzo Cain  CF

Corey Hart  RF
Rickie Weeks  2B
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Mat Gamel  LF
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Luis Cruz  SS
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
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Counsell leading off, Weeks batting 2nd

In what is likely an effort to get more runners on base in front of his power bats, Brewers manager Ken Macha put infielder Craig Counsell in the leadoff spot for Wednesday’s game with second baseman Rickie Weeks in the No. 2 hole.

Weeks becomes the 10th different Brewers hitter to bat second for the club this season. Counsell also becomes the third Brewers hitter to bat leadoff in 2010. 
Macha also appears to be loading the lineup with left-handed bats against Cubs’ right-hander Carlos Zambrano. Counsell replaces Alcides Escobar at shortstop and Jim Edmonds will start for Carlos Gomez in centerfield.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Counsell  SS
Weeks  2B
Fielder  1B
Braun  LF
McGehee  3B
Edmonds  CF
Hart  RF
Kottaras  C
Wolf  P
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter


Macha shakes up lineup for series finale

MILWAUKEE — As the Brewers continued to excel on the field, manager Ken Macha continued to tweak the club’s lineup on Sunday.


After batting catcher George Kottaras second on Saturday because of Kottaras’ high on-base percentage, Macha made another move Sunday to get more guys on base. Macha moved his entire batting order up one spot after Rickie Weeks with the exception of shortstop Alcides Escobar, who was in the ninth spot, behind pitcher Randy Wolf.

“We’ll try this out,” Macha said. “We tried something out yesterday and I think that had some fruits to it. I think it’s just an interesting look. I thought about putting Kottaras there and I thought about this a little bit too.”

As a result, left fielder Ryan Braun became the ninth Brewers hitter to bat second on the season. It’s just the third time Braun has batted second and the first time since he was a rookie.

Behind him, Prince Fielder batted third for the third time this season, Casey McGehee became just the third cleanup hitter this season and Hart batted fifth for the second time on the year.

McGehee was the first Brewers hitter other than Braun or Fielder to bat cleanup since Hart did so on July 1, 2008. The Brewers won that game, 8-6, in Arizona.

Wolf is the first pitcher this season to be in the lineup anywhere other than the No. 9 spot. The only time any other hitter has batted ninth was during the three-game Interleague set with the Twins at Target Field.

With Escobar batting ninth, Macha and McGehee were quick to point out the lineup looks a bit different after the first time through. In fact, it looks a lot more like the team’s usual lineup.

“Looking at the lineup, at the beginning of the game it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re batting cleanup,'” McGehee said. “But it’s really the same. I’m still hitting in front of and behind the same guy. Then hopefully you get Escobar on base and all of a sudden Rickie’s basically hitting second after the first go round. So I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.”

As with the Kottaras move on Saturday, the thought process behind Macha’s decision came down to on-base percentage.

At .402 and .393, Fielder and Braun rank fifth and ninth in the National League in on-base percentage.

“If we score first, we’ve got a high percentage of wins. In the first inning, they’re going to have to face Prince and Brauny. That gives us a chance to score early,” Macha said. “I just want those guys to get on base. Corey’s hot right now, McGehee’s up in the league leaders in driving in runs — I just want the guys to get on base.”

— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter


Bad blood between Brewers, Bucs?

Brewers manager Ken Macha said he didn’t appreciate the up-and-in pitch from Pirates starter Zach Duke that struck Rickie Weeks in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh. 
It was a 1-and-2 offering, but it also came immediately after Brewers pinch-hitter Jody Gerut delivered a pinch-hit, two-run home run that gave Milwaukee a 7-0 lead. 
“To throw at somebody’s face, I don’t think that was very good,” Macha said. “I don’t know if he did or not. I can’t determine what the intention is. But I kind of took exception to it, and Rickie did, too. 
“They were hitting Prince [Fielder] last year, and now they’re hitting Rickie. Those are the wrong guys to be hitting, I’ll say that. I would pick somebody else out.” 
Fielder and Weeks have each been plunked five times this season, and Ryan Braun once. Brewers pitchers, meanwhile, have only struck four opposing batters. 
“We don’t budge,” Macha said. “Prince doesn’t budge. He hangs in there. Pitchers are trying to back him off the plate, but he’s not backing off. Consequently, you get hit.” 
Weeks got some payback the day after Duke’s plunking by scoring four times in the Brewers’ historic 20-0 win. 
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Brewers get first look at Reds' Chapman

AP100220162554.jpgThe Brewers got their first look Wednesday at what’s behind the Aroldis Chapman hype. 

Rickie Weeks greeted the Cincinnati Reds’ hard-throwing Cuban import with a leadoff home run but Chapman was otherwise tough on Milwaukee’s hitters, allowing no more runs or hits and notching five strikeouts in three innings of work in his first Spring Training start. 
“It’s very funky,” said Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, who struck out swinging at a 97 mph fastball to end the first inning. “Everything he threw was moving. Nothing was the same.”
Said Brewers starter Doug Davis, who proudly made contact on a second-inning groundout: “It was fast. It got on you quick. There were a lot of arms and legs coming at you, and the ball was pretty much halfway there before he let it go. It wasn’t really heavy though, like I thought it was going to be.”

And according to Weeks, who followed his first-inning homer with a third-inning walk, Chapman was clearly having trouble locating his off-speed pitches. 
“Of course he has life on his fastball, and I saw a slider and change-up from him and I don’t think he was able to get the off-speed over for strikes a lot,” Weeks said. “You know me, I don’t really pay attention [to the hype]. He’s a pitcher. He’s going out and doing his job. The hype about him? The guy throws 100 mph, so what do you expect?”
“How old is he?” asked Davis, who was informed that Chapman is listed as 22. “Oh, jeez. He’s going to be one of the greats if he stays healthy.”
Davis bested the Cuban on Wednesday, holding the Reds scoreless on three hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out three.
His work on a two-seam fastball, a sinking pitch designed to be tough on left-handed hitters, has not progressed as well as Davis has liked so he’s focusing instead on refining his usual repertoire of four-seam fastballs and cut fastballs. 
“I threw one [sinker] today and I threw it in the ground, almost hit the umpire,” Davis said. “I’m just not comfortable with it yet.”
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