Milwaukee Brewers extend Rickie Weeks long term

If you haven’t heard the news by now, Rickie Weeks signed a 5/$50mil extension with the Milwakee Brewers today. For the small market Brewers, this is a great deal. It’s also a great deal for Rickie Weeks.

The deal will keep Weeks a Brewer for his age 28-32 seasons, which will span most of his prime years up until the age when age starts to become a concern. So as far a years go, the contract length is as good as you can ask for. The contract also buys out one year of arbitration, where he would have made between $5-$7mil and FOUR years of free agency. At 5/$50mil, the AAV is $10mil, so while they won’t be saving any money in 2011, from 2012-2015, they project to be making savings and then some. If Weeks follows up his 2010 season with a similar statistical season in 2011, he would easily make more than $10mil a year. For a small market team like the Brewers who have lots of young players they want to keep around, that is a fantastic deal to save money and keep a good player around.

If Weeks projects to be about a 4.5 WAR player in 2011, as the Fans predict (and is a number I agree with), he would roughly be worth about $20.25mil in 2011. Yeah, so talk about paying someone below their fair market value. If you go further and increase $ per WAR and decrease WAR, I get Weeks producing WARs of 4, 3.5, 3, and 2.5 to finish the contract, which will make him worth $20mil, $19.25mil, $18mil, and $16.25mil for a total contract value of 17.5 WAR and $93.75mil. Yowzers!

I have Weeks projected five year value at $94mil and he will be paid $50mil. Again, I’d say it’s a great deal for Milwaukee. To be worth fair value of $50mil, Weeks would need to only produce about 9-10 WAR over the life of the contract. Yeah, I’d say Weeks will surpass that.

Weeks is an average fielder with a good bat. Going back to 2007, UZR, DSR, and FSR all have him pegged as an average fielder. For his bat, he has above average walk rates, a good ISO indicating power, and good discipline stats. For those reasons, I am confident that he will be a stable, solid hitter over the life of his contract.

The only real concern with Rickie is injuries. 2010 was the first season in which he played more than 130 games (160) and he has failed to play in 100 games in his 3 of his 6 ML seasons. Since the contract pays him significantly less than he is worth, a few injuries won’t make it a bad deal, BUT injuries could take a toll on his production which could ruin the contract. That’s the risk of long term contracts. And while $50mil isn’t a lot compared to his worth, it still is a lot of money in general, especially if you give it to a guy who ends up on the DL more often than the starting lineup. But the Brewers can void the fifth year, saving them $11.5mil, if Weeks is not a starter in 2013 or 2014. So if Weeks does get hurt, the Brewers can still salvage the deal.

All in all though, it’s a win-win for both sides. Brewers get a great deal as I talked about. Weeks gets security and lots of cash, which he should want given his past injury concerns.

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