Rickie Weeks and Brewers set for arbitration on February 17

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Milwaukee avoided arbitration with Shaun Marcum by agreeing to a one-year, $4 million deal yesterday, but they don’t appear close to doing the same with Rickie Weeks and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that they have a hearing scheduled for February 17.

Weeks requested $7.2 million and the Brewers countered at $4.85 million, so it’s not surprising that they’ve yet to come to a compromise over the sizable $2.35 million difference.

Weeks is coming off a career-year that saw him hit .269 with 29 homers, 112 runs, and an .830 OPS. And just as importantly the oft-injured second baseman stayed healthy for 160 games after never playing more than 129 previously, so with just one season to go before free agency he reportedly hasn’t been that receptive to the Brewers’ long-term contract attempts.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”