Rickie Weeks willing to talk deal
The second baseman said he'll tell agent Greg Genske to stop negotiating a new contract once he reports for spring training to focus on baseball and the upcoming season.
After spring training, no chance. ... I want to focus on the season.” -- Rickie Weeks
"After spring training, no chance," Weeks said Sunday during the team's annual offseason fan event, Brewers On Deck. "I want to focus on the season."
Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said they haven't been formally told of Weeks' request, but believes it's a good thing to wrap up talks that started in December.
"I'm glad he said that," Ash said. "That's the way it should be. Once you get on the field, that's where your focus needs to be."
What Weeks might do is important to the club's plans.
The Brewers don't have a long-term option in the minors at second base after trading their top prospect away.
Weeks is arbitration eligible for the final time and is the only other major contributor who could join Prince Fielder in free agency after the season. Fielder wasn't at Sunday's fan event.
"We continue to dabble in multiyear [talks]," Ash said of the negotiations with Weeks. "I would say given the fact we're still talking, they're somewhat productive. Neither side has yet to say, 'That's enough."
Weeks has said he's told Brewers management he'd like to stay with the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2003, signed him to a major league contract and called him up that September. Weeks played in 2004 in the minors, but has been on the major league level since 2005.
"It's one of those things when the timing is right, we can get something done, but I am a Brewer this year," Weeks said. "I don't care if it's arbitration, a first-year guy, rookie contract, it doesn't matter what it is, you're always going to have a back-and-forth going on."
Weeks, who made $2.85 million last year, requested $7.2 million when he swapped figures with the team. The Brewers offered $4.85 million, a difference of $2.35 million. He hit .269 with 29 homers and 83 RBIs in 160 games, by far the best power numbers of his career.
Ash said the arbitration hearing will be Feb. 17, and creates an artificial deadline to finish the negotiations. The team's first full squad workout is Feb. 22.
"The process creates a deadline to some degree," Ash said. "You're either going to go into the hearing room with a one-year deal or you're going to get a settlement of some kind."
Weeks had struggled with injuries until last season and has previously had surgery on both wrists and his left knee.
Milwaukee doesn't have much depth in the minors behind him.
The club dealt its top prospect, Brett Lawrie, to Toronto to acquire Shaun Marcum, the only other player left on the club that's eligible for arbitration. Marcum earned $850,000 last year, going 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA in 31 starts. He asked for $5 million, the club offered $3 million and negotiations continue.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press