The Seattle Mariners committed theft when they stole Rickie Weeks from the rest of Major League Baseball. Weeks is worth more than $2 million, and I welcome a discussion with anyone who says otherwise. Even as a platoon player, as he was in 2014 and will likely be this season, Weeks is undervalued at that price. But, I guess Weeks needs to prove his worth; at least that’s what his one-year deal screams.
In the middle of the 2014 season, the Brewers asked Weeks to try the outfield. He refused. But, when looking at the Mariners depth chart, it lists Weeks as an outfielder/infielder. Why the change of heart? What made Weeks willing to make the switch from ground balls to fly balls? For starters, Weeks was of belief (and so am I) that he was a better second baseman than Gennett. He also knows he’s nowhere near Robinson Cano‘s skill level. He wants to play baseball in 2015, and if that means lacing it up in the outfield, so be it. He’ll have the entire spring to hone his outfield expertise, something he didn’t have when the Brewers approached him. Playing positions other than second base will up Weeks’ future value, so there’s really no reason why Weeks would decline the Mariners this time around.
To the dismay of many Brewers fans, Weeks was a better hitter than Scooter Gennett in 2014. The platoon worked wonders for Weeks’ offensive game, as he posted a career-high 127 wRC+ and reached based just under a 36% clip. Against just southpaws, though, his wRC+ shot up to 142 with a weighted on-base average of .381. And while Weeks feasted on left-handed pitchers, he still managed to have success during the rare times in which he saw an at-bat versus a righty.
The Mariners plan to platoon Weeks with Dustin Ackley in left field, with the occasional start at second. This is the best possible situation for Weeks. He needs another solid season of hitting to show his true capabilities. Last season was a good start.
Weeks’ defense is something that continues to plague him. Over the last three seasons, Weeks has a DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) of -62. That ranks dead last among second basemen who have played at least 2500 innings at second base since 2012. Maybe moving to the grass is exactly what Weeks needs.
I still believe Weeks is more than a platoon player, but MLB teams don’t seem to agree. The Brewers will surely miss Weeks providing Gennett relief from left-handed pitching, and their unwillingness to re-sign him or find another righty second baseman will prove costly in the end. I mean, $2 million for a player like Weeks is like paying $10 for a PlayStation 4; it’s a steal.