Thursday, February 27, 2014

Report: Yanks Monitoring Rickie Weeks (And Others)

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

Just because the Yankees are "done" signing Major League-level players doesn't mean they're not still in the market for some more infield help.  In a story for The Post on Tuesday, George King mentioned a few names that the Yankees are following this spring, most notably Rickie Weeks of the Brewers and Gordon Beckham of the White Sox, and the possibility of using their catching depth as part of a trade package to obtain one, the other, or another infielder.

I think it's more than a bit hasty to start thinking about trading away any of the young catchers on the roster, and if they are going to do it I think the Yanks can do better than Beckham and Weeks.  Beckham hasn't been an above-average hitter since his rookie year in '09.  He doesn't hit for average or power and he doesn't draw walks.  He's only 27, but with 5 full seasons and almost 2,500 PA under his belt it doesn't look like he's going to get any better.

Weeks, 31, was actually worse than Beckham last season.  He hit just .209/.306/.357 (.299 wOBA compared to Beckham's .306) in 104 games before having season-ending hamstring surgery and was worth -15 DRS.  His rapid decline over the past 4 seasons is going to cost him his starting job this season and he's on Milwaukee's books for $11 mil.  They would definitely love to get rid of him and I know plenty of Brewer fans who'd love it even more.  Just me saying the name "Rickie Weeks" is enough to make my girlfriend's skin crawl and send her into what are usually pretty entertaining mini-rants about how much he sucks, and I can say from personal experience that he was painful to watch in 2013.  I don't think there's any player in MLB who looks worse swinging and missing than Weeks, and he swings and misses a lot.

What does make Weeks a little intriguing is the fact that his decline doesn't have any major statistical red flags.  His BB and K rates have stayed relatively the same, he's not swinging at more pitches in or out of the zone, he's not making less contact, and his contact splits haven't shifted drastically one way or the other.  The only thing that stands out is his BABIP, which has gone from .332 in his career best 2010 season to .268 last season.  Maybe, just maybe, Weeks' downslide has been a combination of bad luck and injuries and not him hitting the 30-year-old wall.  Maybe he still has it in him to get back to that .270/.350/.465, 20+ HR peak of a few seasons ago.  It's unlikely, but there is a chance.  Is that a chance worth taking at the cost of a prospect (of any value) and $11 mil in salary?  Probably not.  But let's see what happens.  It certainly doesn't hurt to monitor and for now that's all the Yanks are doing.


Mscott said...

Murphy+ to Arizona for Chris Owings!

gregory said...

I don't think it's worth it. Not with Stephen Drew still out there. Just give Stephen Drew his due and it won't cost much more and you won't have to give up prospects.