09 June 2008

Looking for a Deal: Rickie Weeks

Ken Rosenthal recently wrote how the Brewers have been scouting the Orioles lately. The supposed targets are Brian Roberts and, potentially, George Sherrill.

Here's a deal that makes sense: Brian Roberts for Rickie Weeks. The Brewers, who recently had two scouts watching the Orioles, are interested in Roberts, but it remains to be seen whether they are ready to give up on Weeks.
Roberts, a more accomplished leadoff hitter and better defender than Weeks, is a more natural fit for a contender. The Orioles, meanwhile, could be patient with Weeks defensively, much as the Twins are being patient with the erratic Carlos Gomez. Weeks would be another young, athletic building block to go with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.
A straight-up deal might be out of the question, considering that Roberts is a free agent after next season while Weeks is under club control through 2011. But the Orioles could add a young pitcher or even one of their veteran relievers while perhaps getting another piece back in return.

I agree that a straight up deal, Roberts for Weeks, would be incredibly in our favor. Weeks is a young talent who has shown flashes of power and OBP skills, but his defensive ability leaves a bit of a need for improvement. To trade him for Roberts seems like a heavy dose of short term thinking on the Brewers part. This is especially true with regard to the Cub juggernaut. Where it does make sense for them is that Roberts is one of the few ideal lead off men in the game. He has speed and he gets on base. He plays average defense and he has a little pop. He probably will not be a league average 2B for another couple years, so you don't lose as much in the long term as you may gain in the short term.

George Sherrill is another player the Brewers may want. Gagne has failed as a closer and Salomon Torres is not someone to count on. Sherrill has a decent track record and is cost controlled. He would be an obvious target player for the Brewers to shore up their pen. The Orioles also have options to replace him. They can plug Jim Johnson back there or they could give Adam Loewen the role when he returns from his farm rehab. I guess most people know I have been down on Loewen for a while now. I think he'll settle in as a 4 pitcher and think that as a closer he has more immediate value to us. If we need him to start next year, we can stretch him out in spring training. Also, Trembley has already stated Loewen is going to be in the pen the rest of the year.

My suggestion:
Brian Roberts, 2B
George Sherrill, Cl
Rickie Weeks, 2B
Matt LaPorta, LF/DH
Brent Brewer, SS

With Corey Hart and Ryan Braun in the outfield, LaPorta is probably somewhat expendable. There is concern that with Fielder heading out one of these days that LaPorta's most likely destination would be 1B, but I think Mat Gamel and Taylor Green will be ready by the time Fielder exits. Mat Gamel might be ready next year. Gamel's superior hitting this year in AA and ability to play 3B most likely makes him more valuable to the Brewers than LaPorta (I think LaPorta is their best guy though). Brent Brewer is a young incredibly toolsy SS. He has not been able to hit for a lick, but he is fast and has a lot of projection to grow. We need guys like this in our system. I also think the Brewers prefer Alicedes Escobar anyway.

I think this would be a fair deal. If the Orioles could squeeze a little bit more out of the Brewers, I'd probably think that Caleb Gindl could be had.


MJ said...

All due respect but why would the Brewers give up on LaPorta now? The Brewers have not shown themselves to be anything but cost conscious so giving up one of their best hitting prospects seems incosistent with their philosophy.

As to where LaPorta would play, that problem will be solved by moving Prince Fielder and his fat behind to another team. Fielder wasn't given a contract the way Braun was and I think that's very telling...

Jon Shepherd said...

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought I already explained that in the post.

1. They would not be giving up on LaPorta.
2. Recent development of others who will be stuck as LF or 1B has created a redundancy of young talent.
3. Cost involved in this deal is not prohibitive.
4. Eh, you could trade Fielder for a good bit too.

Nick J Faleris said...

For what it's worth, I believe LaPorta is in RF right now. I could see a Braun/Hart/LaPorta OF -- I still agree the core Roberts for Weeks deal makes a lot of sense.

Jon Shepherd said...

I think it is fair to say getting LaPorta is a possible, but unlikely scenario. The core deal makes sense and if Sherrill is involved to replace Gagne . . . it is possible that other players are incorporated.

I'm not sure if taking on Hall's or Gagne's deal would bring us back more as it would reduce the Brewers' payroll. I'm not sure if that is a wise move by the Orioles. I guess Gagne would be OK as he is on a one year deal. Hall may make sense if he can still play SS poorly as opposed to horrifically.