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February 11, 2015 at 8:42 PM

Mariners to sign Rickie Weeks to a one-year contract

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So ESPN’s Jim Bowden just tweeted out that the Mariners have agreed to a contract with free agent infielder Rickie Weeks. It’s reportedly a one-year deal worth $2 million with incentives up to $2 million pending a physical.

The Mariners would not comment on the situation. But baseball sources have confirmed the Bowden report. Weeks will have to take a physical in the next two to three days to finalize any deal.

Have to admit that I didn’t see this one coming. By most indications from general manager Jack Zduriencik and sources within the organization in the last few weeks, it seemed as though the Mariners were done making additions to their roster, any further moves would be signings to minor league contracts.

But this will be a major league contract so the Mariners will have to make a 40-man roster move.

It’s a low-risk, relatively low-cost investment in a player that has been productive in the past. He’s a streaky hitter. Injuries in the past and some regression cut into his playing time in 2013.  Weeks lost his job to Scooter Gennett after 2013 and was asked to try and learn to play left field in 2014. He declined that offer. The Brewers also wanted to make sure he didn’t reach his player option this past season and limited his playing time. The option worked under these guidelines: if Weeks was healthy at end of 2014 season and had 600 PAs in 2014 or 1,200 PAs in 2013-14, the $11.5 million option would have vested.

Obviously, Weeks isn’t in a position to demand where he plays anymore.

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So why would they sign a player who is primarily a second baseman when they have Robinson Cano? It’s a fair first question. Well, Weeks wouldn’t be the second baseman. He would be a bench player with some value as a bat off the bench. Bowden mentions left field and right field and third base as ways to get him into the lineup. A possible platoon in left field with Dustin Ackley might be a possibility. But Weeks has never played those positions in his career. I would also guess that Weeks could play some first base as well. GM Jack Zduriencik scouted and drafted Weeks when he was the Brewers amateur scouting director in 2003. Here’s Weeks career splits …

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If the Mariners use him as a bench and part time outfielder, it all but assures that Lloyd McClendon won’t be carrying an 8-man bullpen. It makes you also wonder if Willie Bloomquist will be ready to go come spring training. It also means that whoever loses the shortstop competition will likely be headed to Class AAA Tacoma. Sure you could keep the loser of the shortstop competition, but whoever that is would need to play every day

Let’s take a quick look at how the position player portion of the roster shapes up if Weeks’ signing becomes official and McClendon carries a 12-man pitching staff. Now this is just a guess ….

C – Mike Zunino

1B – Logan Morrison

2B – Robinson Cano

3B – Kyle Seager

SS – Brad Miller OR Chris Taylor

LF – Dustin Ackley

CF – Austin Jackson

RF – Justin Ruggiano/Seth Smith

DH – Nelson Cruz

Bench

Back-up catcher: John Baker or Jesus Sucre

Rickie Weeks

Willie Bloomquist

 

 

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