Details are still coming out about Rickie Weeks’ longterm extension, but we do know a few things. First, Tom Haudricourt broke the story. Then Ken Rosenthal added that Weeks will have the opportunity to earn up to $50 million over the next five seasons. Rosenthal followed that up by reporting that the fifth year option will vest if Weeks is an “everyday player” during 2013 and 2014, giving the team some insurance if he does miss time due to injury. Finally, Colin Fly of the Associated Press gave us the terms listed in the title of this post — 4 years, $38.5 million guaranteed. I wasn’t a math major, but I believe that would mean that fifth year is a vesting option for $11.5 million, which should still be a reasonable salary if Weeks is healthy enough to guarantee that year.
As I wrote earlier today, there was reason to worry about a five-year deal. The good news, though, is that this deal is structured in a way that allows the team to opt out if Weeks misses significant time. In the end, only the four years and $38.5 million are guaranteed, and even for that money, it’s a bargain. As mentioned by battlekow on Twitter, FanGraphs had Weeks’ estimated value during his injury-filled seasons very close to what he’ll actually be making for the next four years.
In the end, this is a fair deal for all sides involved. Weeks gets his big money contract, financial security, and a chance to earn even more by proving he can stay on the field. The Brewers were able to buy out at least three years of free agency and get a key piece of their offense locked up for years to come — if all goes as planned, both Weeks and Ryan Braun will be Brewers through 2015. With Weeks in the fold for the foreseeable future, it’s also suddenly not a big deal that Eric Farris doesn’t look like much more than a potential bench player at this point and Scooter Gennett is two or three years away from being an option.
I don’t know if Brewers fans could have asked for a better start to Spring Training. Here’s to four more years of blasts like the mammoth shot he hit in Arizona off Edwin Jackson.
Update: Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the fifth year option will be voided if Weeks fails to make 600 plate appearances in the fourth year, or a combined 1200 plate appearances in years three and four. Again, this is a number that works for both sides. It’s a number that Weeks should easily hit if he’s healthy, even if he moves out of the leadoff spot in the future, and if Weeks can give the team 1200 PAs in the last two years of the deal, they’ll have no problem with keeping him around for another year.