King: Yankees will monitor Rickie Weeks; ChiSox seeking catching help

Thoughts at the start of Grapefruit League play
2014 Season Preview: Speed Demons
(Christian Petersen/Getty)
(Christian Petersen/Getty)

The Yankees are reportedly done signing Major League free agents, but that doesn’t mean trades for established big leaguers are off the table. According to George King, the team will monitor second baseman Rickie Weeks, who could lose his starting job with the Brewers to youngster Scooter Gennett these next few weeks.

Weeks, 31, was limited to 104 games last season by a severe hamstring injury that required season-ending surgery in August. The 23-year-old Gennett took his spot in the lineup and hit .324/.356/.479 (131 wRC+) with six homers in 230 plate appearances down the stretch. Weeks has hit .222/.320/.384 (94 wRC+) with 31 homers and 23 steals these last two years, a far cry from his 2009-11 peak.

The Brewers would presumably love to shed Weeks and the $11M they owe him this season. This is not another Vernon Wells situation though; the elder Weeks brother has not been a total disaster the last two years. Below-average, yes, but not a Wellsian disaster. Trading a prospect and picking up that $11M tab would be tough to swallow with Stephen Drew still unsigned, but he is a name to keep in the back of your mind.

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

In other news, King says the White Sox are seeking catching help and had a scout on hand for yesterday’s game against Florida State. Frankie Cervelli, John Ryan Murphy, and Gary Sanchez all played in the game. “There has been no dialogue … I wouldn’t comment on interest,” said Brian Cashman when asked about a potential deal with Chicago.

The Yankees are prioritizing infield and bullpen help this spring, to no one’s surprise. The ChiSox could offer perennial disappointment Gordon Beckham or free agent flop Jeff Keppinger, who New York showed some interest in at the trade deadline last year, according to King. The 33-year-old hit .253/.283/.317 (60 wRC+) last summer and is owed $9.5M through 2015. Beckham, 27, managed a .267/.322/.372 (88 wRC+) line last year, his best season since 2009. He’s owed $4.175M this year and is under team control in 2015 as well.

Beckham was much more interesting a year or two ago, when he on the right side of 25 and still had some of that top prospect shine. We now have nearly 2,500 big league plate appearances saying this guy is a below-average Major League hitter and there have been no signs of improvement in recent years. As badly as they need infield help, I think the Yankees have to be careful not to overrate their catching depth. It can disappear in a hurry.

Thoughts at the start of Grapefruit League play
2014 Season Preview: Speed Demons
  • TWTR

    I would be very surprised if they assumed that contract.

    • I’m One

      I assume you’re refering to the Weecks contract. If the Brewers are looking for a true “prospect”, they’d have to eat some of that salary.

      • TWTR

        Yes. I think there are better options.

        • I’m One

          I tend to agree. Not really that intrigued by Weecks.

  • DERP

    I know they won’t trade him, but would Matt Davidson for Murphy be fair? Maybe the Yankees kick in someone else.

    Would Marcus Semien be a guy to target?

    • Dustin

      Doubt it. Seems like Semien will be their starting 2B and Davidson their starting 3B, and they don’t have anyone better to take those jobs except maybe Beckham remaining the starting 2B.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner


    I’ve heard enough about Jeff Keppinger for this lifetime. Then again, that’s not a huge commitment through 2015.

    I’d honestly be open to considering (that was worded carefully) Weeks or Beckham at the right price. Weeks is a one-year hit contract-wise, but not something that the team would have to deal with moving forward if it didn’t work out this season. Beckham is what he is. Would I consider shipping Frankie out for him? Maybe. At the very least, either increases the depth at each position.

    They’re options you don’t immediately hang up about, at least.

    • Colonel

      Yeah I would consider trading for Cervelli from something like one of these guys, but not one of the other prospects with more upside.

      • Chip

        Cervelli is a league averageish catcher who is under team control for a few seasons yet. There’s a lot of value there. Certainly a lot more than Gordon Beckham at 4 million a year has

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          You’re on a roll talking me out of things in this thread. I should take you on shopping trips.

          • Chip

            You just bought a new outfit last week, how could you possibly need another already? You can’t wear two at once!

            Note: This is a completely ineffectual argument with my wife

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              This is the complete opposite with mine.

              • I’m One

                There are certainly times where I’ll won’t even try to talk my wife out of a new outfit … like when she’s shopping at Victoria’s Secret (or someplace more risque). ;-)

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  I’m the one who has to drag my wife to the mall. We are pretty traditionally gender reversed in that regard.

                  I’m also the one with way to much in my closet.

        • Dan

          Cervelli’s trade value right now is really low. Look at his past 2 seasons, 2 years ago he was in AAA. Last year he had a good month, and then got hurt and then got suspended for PEDs and he missed the whole year. At this point, I think he’s a useful backup catcher, but not much more. I’d imagine other teams view him similarly.

          Yes, backup catchers under team control have value. But I don’t think it’s enough alone to get a starting second baseman, even if he is a bit below average.

  • Stephen

    What a surprise – another post by Mike…another reference to the unsigned Stephen Drew? Yes, we all know he is still out there…I don’t need to see it mentioned in every other post.

    • I’m One

      An article referencing available infielders (at least potentially available in a trade) should provide comparitive value, in my opinion. Drew doesn’t cost a prospect (or a player in return) but may or may not cost more in actual dollars. Fair point.

    • david S

      I agree — Mike does amazing work on this blog, churning out numerous daily posts, however it is patently obvious the Yankees do not think Drew is capable of playing 2nd or 3rd base. Or, find something else questionable about him. Just let it go…

      Then we can focus our time to getting you to accept that Ellsbury was signed and mentioning 11,450 times that you don’t agree, understand or get it …. doesn’t matter! Get on board, because you root for the laundry and he is on the team for 7 years!

      • LK

        So, you want Mike to change his mind about the Ellsbury signing because he’s going to be here for 7 years? What value would his opinion be if all he did was talk about how great the Yankees’ decisions are?

        • david S

          Not in the slightest – have you heard of beating a dead horse? The guy hasn’t even played a game…

          I didn’t say the decision was great, but it happened. Move on…

          • LK

            Sure, I get that. I guess where you see “beating a dead horse,” I see “there’s nothing else to talk about.”

          • Preston

            If you think he’s beating a dead horse about Ellsbury you probably shouldn’t read a blog with daily posts entirely about Yankee baseball. We’ll be hearing hints about Mike’s opinion about the Jacoby Ellsbury contract every time it’s relevant for the next 7 years. And if it turns out as bad he’ll probably reference long after that.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        however it is patently obvious the Yankees do not think Drew is capable of playing 2nd or 3rd base. Or, find something else questionable about him

        Then why did the Yankees have a standing offer out to him earlier in the offseason?

        It seems the issue has little to do with what they think Drew is or isn’t capable of doing and more to do with Hal not wanting to spend much more money.

    • jsbrendog

      wake up on wrong side of bed?

      go to internet to complain about things?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Except that Drew is actually relevant here.

      I am trying to take note of Joe’s “complaining about the complainer” complaint yesterday, though.

    • thomas

      I have my questions concerning Drew. The redsox don’t seem to wnat him even tho they are going with an unproven ss. yet the yankees are asses for not doing the same thing as the redsoxs. If Drew was so healthy and good, I would guess that his last team would be all over him. They have the money. I just think that there is more behind this than we all know.

      • LK

        This would normally be something to consider, except the Red Sox have one of the 3 best prospects in all of baseball ready to step in at Drew’s position.

        Also something to consider: what this would say about what we should expect from Ellsbury, based on the same logic.

        • Steve (different one)

          And what about 3B? Since that is where everyone wants Drew for the Yankees. Middlebrooks?

          Here is the thing with Drew, and it applies to Choo in the last thread as well: it takes two to tango. TWICE the Yankees have made Drew what was likely his best available offer (certainly last winter, and I am assuming by his not being in camp right now, no one has done better than the “2-3 year” offer they made earlier in the winter). And twice he has refused.

          It seems obvious to me that he doesn’t want to be here. Maybe it’s time we let it go. Maybe?

          Same with Choo. He took LESS money to go to Texas, so maybe we should stop complaining about not signing him.

          • LK

            I think Middlebrooks sucks, but I’m guessing that the Red Sox FO does want to give him a shot as he’s still young and was pretty highly-regarded. I still don’t really buy that Boston moving on from Drew is that big of a red flag.

            You’re right that Drew has to be willing to sign here, and he doesn’t appear to want to. All I’ve been discussing is whether or not the Yankees ought to have interest in him, which they seem to have had earlier this offseason but do not have now.

            I didn’t want Choo, but taking into account the state tax laws I believe he’s actually getting more money from Texas.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Middlebrooks has shown enough in small doses for them to want to give the extra look. In the end, yeah, I don’t think that ends the way they wanted it to.

              These thins only happen to the Yankees, by the way.

              I think guys like Choo and Drew chose not to jump on initial Yankee offers the way Ellsbury and McCann did, thinking a better market would develop. It did for Choo. It didn’t for Drew.

              I actually think there’s strong merit to a less loaded version of the “Hal doesn’t want to spend any more money” being offered around. I think the team actually does feel like it’s spent enough, and that anything above this would have to be for someone they truly feel is worth their while. I don’t think they see Drew as that guy. I don’t fault them for that. So let’s just say that Hal doesn’t want to spend any more money….on someone like Drew, hole or not.

              • LK

                I’m not really sure what you’re saying at the end. We don’t know what Drew’s asking price is, but based on his market it can’t be *that* high, and based on the Yankees’ interest earlier in the offseason when they made him an offer, they must think he can improve the team to a significant degree. It seems like the explanation is that Hal doesn’t want to spend more money, simple as that (which is fine, it’s his money, but there’s no need to obfuscate what’s happening).

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  Other than Stephen Drew, there’s not really a player out there on which we can’t test either hypothesis on.

                  I guess this will just remain out there in the ether.

    • Mr. Roth

      He’s available to ALL of the teams and none of them have signed him yet. It seems that the league unanimously agrees that he is asking for far too much, or his medicals are terrible.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        …or that Hal Steinbrenner secretly runs every team.

        I SWEAR to GOD someone just called in with a Drew question to the Kay show.

  • Chip

    I would be very surprised if they traded anything at all for Keppinger or Beckham as neither of them are really good at anything and both are pretty expensive for below average players. I could maybe see them doing a Cervelli for Micah Johnson or Marcus Semien swap as the White Sox have a ton of infield options that are fairly close to the majors.

    With the Brewers, maybe they convince them to pick up half of the contract? Weeks at 5 million would make this lineup much more respectable but I’m afraid he’d give all his value back on defense

    • Tim D.

      I still think it’s a chance the team should take. Beckham is awful; I wouldn’t go near him. Weeks has been on the downslide but he can’t be worse than an injury prone Brian Roberts.

      • Chip

        I disagree, Weeks could definitely be worse than injury prone Brian Roberts. There’s a chance that Weeks hits .180/.260/.320 and isn’t mobile enough to play second. I would also admit that it’s possible he hits above the league average. Either way, I think we can all agree that he’s going to be terrible in the field considering he was pretty bad before having leg surgery

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I mean… could Roberts, but he’s already in the fold and doesn’t cost much.

          You may have just talked me out of Rickie Weeks. Congrats.

  • LK

    If Weeks comes at no prospect cost, that seems like a decent move. It’s not ideal with his performance concerns and the fact that both he and Roberts are limited to 2B only, but with the current IF there’s no reason to be too picky. I don’t think they should trade anyone of significant value for him, though (or Keppinger or Beckham, for that matter). Still seems like Drew is a better option, depending on whether or not Boras is ready to acknowledge reality, of course.

    • Chip

      It might not be Drew/Boris. Maybe the Yankees (and the rest of the league) found something in the medicals that they didn’t like and really aren’t interested in him at any price.

      • LK

        Well, the report from a couple days ago said the Yankees had an offer out to Drew that they pulled after making other signings. I can’t imagine his medicals would be bad enough that they wouldn’t be interested him at any price. Hell, what could even be in his medicals that would be worse than Brian Roberts’ medicals, which I assume are just a high-resolution photo of a dumpster that’s been soaked in kerosene and set ablaze?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          The dumpster is concussion-free? Hooray!

  • http://riveravenueblues austinmac

    I thik it is obvious Hal doesn’t want to spend more money. Hence, no Drew.

    • TWTR

      I can’t fault him at this point (he shouldn’t have to spend as much as he has) as long as he doesn’t end up ultimately spending on something that doesn’t make sense, like Weeks.

  • Dustin

    We’re all focusing on infielders. But what about Nate Jones? Could he be gotten for JR Murphy or Cervelli?

    • Dustin

      Or Scott Downs or Ronald Belisario. Or for lesser prospects, Mitchell Boggs or Daniel Webb.

    • TWTR

      I want to keep Murphy. I am fine with trading Cervelli.

  • Mike

    What about a Weeks for Ichiro swap? Maybe the through in a guy like Ramon Flores.

    • Dustin

      I like it for us, but they’ve already got Logan Schafer as a 4th OF. Maybe they prefer Ichiro, but at $5MM (the difference between salaries)?

  • Chip Rodriguez

    Blue Jays v. Phils being broadcast on

    There’s baseball on my screen again, and it feels good.

  • RM

    JR Murphy for Jones is interesting and I would think a fair deal. He is under control for 4 more years. I would consider it.

  • Chip Rodriguez

    Ellsbury draws a walk, and McCann drives him in for his first RBI. Welcome aboard, guys.

  • W.B. Mason Williams

    Rickie Weeks…a name to watch this spring…as he plays 2B for the Brewers.

  • Chip Rodriguez

    Yangervis Solarte just homered. Forget Rickie Weeks, I want him instead. (Mainly for John Sterling’s HR call…)

  • Tim

    The good news: After 2 innings and 2 AB, Jacoby Ellsbury is on pace for about 1000 walks and 1000 runs scored this year! :-)

    the bad news: After 2 innings and 2 AB, Carlos Beltran is on pace to strike out 500 times and never hit a ball out of the infield. :-(

    • Chip Rodriguez

      Better news: McCann is batting 1.000 with RISP!

      • I’m One

        Betances 11 strikes no balls in his 2 innings of work. He will not give up a walk all season!

    • The Great Gonzo

      Hooray for Sample Size!

  • Dicka24

    I’d take a flyer on Beckham, but I’m not sure that Cervelli is someone I’d want to part with to do so. Not that Cervelli is something grand, but will Beckham really give you more than what you currently have? I think he’s young enough at 26, to where there is still room for improvement. He hits .323 in the minors, but hasn’t done much in the pros.

    I can get people not liking the Ellsbury contract, or signing, but when they turn around and say they would have liked signing Choo, I can’t help but shake my head. Ellsbury is a better overall player than Choo, hands down. The logic there is baffling. If you hate the Ellsbury deal, then you should dislike the Choo deal too.

  • Dalek Jeter

    I’d rather sign Placido Polanco than give up a warm body for any of these guys, personally.

  • I

    I would have been in on the Beckham idea earlier in the offseason, but at this point, I fail to understand why this is even a topic at the moment. Girardi has more or less already named Roberts as the Yanks 2nd baseman and they have a lot of depth past that with Johnson, Anna, Nunez and even Ryan as well as others. I mean, at a minimum, we should see how the Roberts thing plays out. 3rd is more of interest in my opinion, but I don’t think Keppinger is the answer at this point either. Sizemore would be the best result, but we need to see how his health is first. I would rather focus on someone who could be an impact player, has good health is young and cheap for a swap of Murphy and Heathcott or Williams together for a guy like Matt Dominguez. The Astro’s did have scouts watching so there is some sense to this type of deal. Trevor Plouff seems like an obvious candidate, but I don’t know if it would work.

    The most amazing thing I continue to scratch my head over is Chase Headly. The guy had a rough time and then an amazing MVP like season, back to pedestrian, now injured and who knows. I said it two years ago and I’ll say it again, the Padres dropped the ball big time not having traded him at max value at that time. I guess I’m glad being a Yank fan because it probably wouldn’t have worked out so well if we got him, hence my caution going forward 2014/15 offseason about signing him.

    Anyone on Matt Dominguez?

    • Dalek Jeter

      I really don’t get this public perception that Headley was “pedestrian” before or after 2012. I mean his fWAR’s the past four years are:

      2010: 4.4
      2011: 2.3
      2012: 7.2
      2013: 3.6

      Another thing to look at is last season his BB%, K%, and BABIP were all worse than his career averages.

      • I

        I hadn’t realized 2010 was better on paper than it appeared. Considering the type of contract he might command and factoring in health, I don’t think his total WAR production justifies the future cost. Really, 2014 is a big deal for a player like him. I don’t see the Yanks actually in on a player like him. If they can get a guy like Dominguez, great, or maybe some anomaly like O’Brien pans out or Jaliego or others move up quickly, otherwise, I could see someone like Sandoval being signed to a 2-3 year deal this coming off season. I don’t know who to make sense of this 3rd base issue the Yanks face currently, especially considering Arod being in the plans (or not) past next season. I think the Yanks would be well vested looking at a player like Dominguez considering the totality of things and the guy has displayed some power, so isn’t that consistent to what a few earlier posts have stated?

  • Delbert Grady

    Remember when the media & White Sox were calling Beckham their Jeter?

    Part of the appeal of Weeks is he and CC are best buddies and perhaps that brings out his best. It’s like when the Red Sox writers believe that if they get Ethier from the Dodgers, Pedroia will turn him into Ted Williams as they are best buds.

    I’m not sure I buy into that theory, but considering what our infield looks like at the moment, Weeks would be a welcome addition via salary dump.

  • Preston

    I’ll say this about Gordan Beckham. We could do a lot worse. He can play adequate defense at 2b and 3b and has a career wRC+ of 86, to go with last seasons wRC+ of 88 and all three projection systems tag him for 1.1-1.2 WAR in 2014. That’s not great, it’s not even average. But it could be a lot worse.
    Last season when we had to start putting together our Frankenstein’s monster infield it got a lot worse. Beckham’s career wRC+ of 86 is exactly what we got out of our 1b last year for a total of .4 WAR. We got a wRC+ of 60 with -1.6! WAR out of SS and a wRC+ of 69 and .7 WAR out of 3b. Brian Roberts certainly is more accomplished than Bekcham, and everybody’s favorite Scott Sizemore showed more promise before injuries. But Beckham is a more certain commodity than either. Because he’s healthy and legitimately above replacement level. And as we found out last season, those guys don’t grow on trees. If all he costs is 4 million and one of Cervelli/Romine (who are duplicative anyways, one is going to be BUC at AAA) so that we can stash him on the bench as a backup 3b/2b then I’m all for it.

  • Eric

    De Aza to the Mariners
    Franklin to the Yankees
    Murphy to the White Sox

    Add prospects as needed.

  • nolan

    The brewers have what we need. Swing a trade for weeks and aramis ramirez for straight salary relief. Brewers dump all of Ramirez’s 16 million on the yanks and pick up 50% of weeks. Yanks are on the hook for an additional 27 million but gain 2 right handed thumpers that shore up the weak infield the yanks are currently playing with. KJ plays 2b against RH pitchers (Weeks is a career wRC +126 hitter vs LH pitching).