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Considering Other Options, Part 1: Rickie Weeks

Editor's note: As Rubie noted in Friday's Mug, I was away this weekend. The weather didn't exactly cooperate with my return plans, so I'm not actually home yet. As such, in lieu of today's normal posting, I've got a day of special posts lined up considering some of the Brewers' other options this trading season. Keep checking back, as a new one will post every two hours throughout the day.

As we've spent the last few weeks discussing offseason possibilities, I feel like some/many of us have started to miss the big picture. As I work my way around the web each morning, I see lots of conversations that start something like this:

The Brewers will definitely trade Prince Fielder for pitching. Once they do that, they can...

But there's a problem there. There's no guarantee Prince Fielder will be traded this offseason. The market for his services remains somewhat limited and not all of the candidates to acquire him have pitching to trade away.

Furthermore, this implies that Fielder is the only flippable asset the Brewers have, and that's simply not the case. Today we'll take a look at five more potential opportunities to make a deal. I'm curious to hear what you think about them. The first option is Rickie Weeks.

Reasons to make a move:

Weeks is coming off a career year. He blew away his former career highs in all of these categories this season:

Stat 2011 Prev High Season
G 160 129 2008
PA 754 560 2008
R 112 89 2008
H 175 111 2008
2B 32 22 2008
HR 29 16 2007
RBI 83 46 2008
K 184 116 2007
WAR 4.9 3.2 2007

Weeks had the year in 2010 that may of us had been expecting him to have for a long time. But there's no guarantee he'll do it again. Before 2010, he had appeared in less than 100 games and been worth less than two wins (according to B-Ref) in three of his previous five seasons. There's a chance that his value right now is the highest it will ever be.

Contract situation: Weeks is arbitration eligible for the final time this offseason, and will be a free agent at this time next year. If the Brewers don't trade him or sign him to an extension this winter, there's a good chance he'll play his way out of the Brewers' price range by this time next year. Trading him now ensures the team will get more for him than the compensation picks they'll get if he leaves as a free agent.

Reasons to hold onto him:

Lack of internal options at second base: If the Brewers did decide to part ways with Weeks, they'd almost certainly have to make another move to acquire his replacement, or deal with a significant drop in production to open 2011. Here are the internal options to replace him:

  • Joe Inglett: Likely acceptable in a short term situation, but probably not a long term solution.
  • Eric Farris: Having a solid season in the AFL, but scouts doubt his ability to hit enough to stick in a lineup long term.
  • Brett Lawrie: He's still only 20 years old, hasn't played above AA and there are questions about his ability to stick at second base.
Lack of internal options in the leadoff spot: The top of the order probably isn't the ideal place for Weeks to bat, but the Brewers lack other hitters that can combine his ability to get on base and speed.

Public Relations: Trading Weeks as he appears to be developing into a star player without trying to sign him long-term could be seen as an organizational white flag. Any deal for Weeks would have to net a player that could contribute in a big way immediately, or the team would risk being seen as dumping salary.

So, what do you think? Should the Brewers consider dealing Rickie Weeks to help fill the gap in their pitching staff?