In case you missed parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, wherein we explored the reasons for and against trading Manny Parra and Nyjer Morgan and George Kottaras and Corey Hart and Randy Wolf, respectively.
Hi! My name is RICKIE WEEKS. You might remember me from such films as Summer of Rickie: The 2009 Jinx and Summer of Rickie: The 2012 Remix. And here's why you should trade me!
New to the series: INITIAL DISCLAIMER! I don't want to trade Rickie Weeks.
2012/Career vitals: In 2012, Rickie's limping along with a meager .199/.314/.343 line. He's got only eight taters and 15 doubles, his BABIP is a near-comical .267, and his wOBA, which has never been below .328 in any of the six seasons in which he's played 95 games or more, is just .299. He's also striking out at Jose Hernandezian levels, with 100 whiffs in 350 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, Weeks isn't having a great year in the field, either, with a UZR of (-9.7) and a UZR/150 of (-20.3). Add that all together, and you've got a replacement level player: FanGraphs pegs his 2012 WAR at 0.0.
For his career, Rickie's gone .250/.351/.426 and has been worth 18.6 fWAR. He's also just two years removed from a jaw-dropping, marvelous, breathtaking, "I think it is time we demonstrate the full power of this station," 29-homer, .368-wOBA, 6.5-fWAR, pick-another-superlative-and-toss-it-in season.* He's also my second-favorite Brewer** and I love him and if you don't love him I hate you.
* Baseball Reference only has Rickie at 3.5 WAR in 2010, which is absurd because it hurts my argument.
** Go-Go, in case you're wondering.
Contract sitch: Weeks is in the second year of a four-year, $38.5-million contract. He's pulling down $11 million this year, he's got another $11 million coming next year, and he's on the books for $12 million in 2014. The contract also has a vesting option for 2015: if Rickie makes 600 plate appearances in 2014, or 1200 combined plate appearances in 2013 and 2014, his $11.5 million option for 2015 is locked in.
DEAL ME NOW! When Rickie is right, he is a wrecking ball at second base. (Sorted by ISO, over the last five years, Rickie ranks fifth among second basemen with a .193 mark, just behind Robbie Cano's .194 and trailing only Uggla, Utley, and Kinsler.) Even when Rickie is wrong, he still gets on base. (Over that same time period: Rickie is sixth in OBP at .357, and, amongst the guys he ranks behind, one dude is out of baseball (Luis Castillo), and another probably should be (Chone Figgins).) His defense has come a long way, he's a good baserunner, he'll play through anything short of loss of limb, and if you're in an NFL city, he could probably take a turn or two at strong safety for your local squad without missing a beat.
And, sure, he's a touch expensive, but look at some of the flotsam that the contenders are running out at second base in 2012: the Yankees and Rangers and Sox and Reds and even the Pirates are probably set, but the Giants are trotting whatever's left of Ryan Theriot out there five days a week, the Dodgers are trying to bluff their way by with some combination of Mark Ellis, Jerry Hairston, and Adam Kennedy, the Orioles are giving Robert Andino major time with Brian Roberts out, and the Nationals are relying on Danny Espinosa, who has an OBP five points lower than Weeks (.309) despite hitting thirty-three percentage points higher (.232).
Rickie Weeks, even at his worst (and I have to believe his first half qualifies as his worst), is better than all of these slugs. He's still young-ish. He's affordable for you big-market types. You'd be insane not to kick the tires.
Please don't look at this link of second basemen sorted by 2012 fWAR, opposing GMs: Yikes.
Fill in the blank: Rickie Weeks is worth his weight in: Jax's bionic arms. (I had nothin', I just wanted to make a joke about Rickie's wrists being more machine than man at this point.)
Gratuitous note about The Newsroom: Do you guys remember Sports Night, Aaron Sorkin's short-lived comedy that went behind the scenes at a sports news operation and featured the most unnecessary laugh track in the history of television? Aaron Sorkin apparently hopes that you don't, because he seems to be recycling most of the major characters from Sports Night on The Newsroom. Slightly enigmatic/tortured main character who Aaron Sorkin identifies with a little too much? Check (Casey McCall/Will McAvoy). Female lead who has a complicated romantic past with aforementioned male lead and now serves as his executive producer? Check (Dana Whitaker/Mackenzie MacHale). I won't belabor the point, but you've got the youngsters making goo-goo eyes at each other, the wise old fella who's been around the block more times than you can count (Waterston/Jaffe), and so on and et cetera.
I mean, come on, Aaron: at least make it less transparent when you're borrowing so heavily from yourself.
Why Doug Melvin probably won't trade him: Because he is a smart man with a handsome mustache.
How desperate should we be to move him, on the Rubie Q Patented Trade This Slug-O-Meter: I'm not going to give anyone a zero, because, at the least, we should probably be willing to consider a proposal for anyone not named Braun or Yo. But Rickie falls into the You're Going to Have to Bowl Us Over, Probably With Three Young Pitchers category, at least for me. I give Weeks a 0.5.