Oakland Athletics Should Offer Rickie Weeks Minor League Contract


It is time for the Oakland Athletics to welcome a Weeks back into the family. Rickie Weeks was released by the Seattle Mariners on Sunday after batting a wretched .167/.263/.250 through 37 games. This was obviously not what the Mariners thought they were getting after signing him through free agency back in February.

Weeks has not performed well enough to take a spot away from any of the Athletics’ current infielders. Even Eric Sogard, who is perceived as the A’s weakest hitting infielder, is batting a respectable .255 this season. But Ben Zobrist, one of the A’s key infielders, has been a hot topic in trade discussion over the last few weeks.

This is why the Athletics should pursue Weeks for a minor league contract. If the Major League club keeps playing well, they might not be sellers at all this season. But if they go on another five-game skid, Billy Beane will likely begin dealing some pieces, and the A’s will need some Major League ready replacements at the minor league level.

The front office may already be preparing for this. On Sunday, they claimed outfielder Jake Smolinski through waivers from the Texas Rangers. Back on June 11, the club signed free agent Dayan Viciedo to a minor league contract. This stacked Triple-A Nashville with Major League talent in the outfield, but what about the infield?

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The Athletics do have infield prospects, most notably shortstop Franklin Barreto of the Single-A Stockton Ports, and first baseman Matt Olson who is currently playing in Double-A Midland. Since the A’s probably do not consider second basemen Chad Pinder and Joey Wendle their position players of the future, it is unlikely that there is much to be gained by putting them on the Major League club if Zobrist is traded later in the season.

Weeks’ awful 2015 campaign makes him a prime candidate to temporarily fill in the gaps in Nashville. Other teams are unlikely to seek him for an upgrade at second base, and his poor numbers give him little leverage in his upcoming free agency.

This may sound like an argument for the A’s to pick up a burned out player, but do not forget that it was only a year ago that Weeks hit .274/.357/.452 with the Milwaukee Brewers. At 32 years old, he may be a few minor league swings away from getting back into that form. Remember that outfielder Coco Crisp was 32 and 33 years old in 2012 and 2013 when he was an indispensable part of the A’s lineup.

The A’s are playing good baseball, and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They are seven games back in the wild card race, which is a position that looks far better than it did two weeks ago. They are hoping to quietly insert themselves back into the playoff picture. If they are successful, there will be no need to sell. But if Beane pulls the trigger on trading off some of the pieces, Weeks would be a valuable player to have ready to go in Nashville.

Next: Dan Otero, Ryan Cook Unlikely to Rejoin A's