There were varying reports about the specifics of Rickie Weeks’ contract extension with Milwaukee, but now the Brewers have announced the details.
It’s officially a four-year contract worth $38.5 million, but the deal also includes an $11.5 million option for 2015 that vests if Weeks has 600 plate appearances in 2014 or a total of 1,200 plate appearances between 2013 and 2014.
In other words, if he stays healthy and productive for the entire contract it’s a five-year, $50 million deal and if not it’s a four-year, $38.5 million deal. And since Weeks has logged 600 plate appearances just once in six seasons, the latter is definitely more likely.
Weeks likely would have settled for around $6 million in his third and final season of arbitration eligibility, so the Brewers are essentially buying out his first three years of free agency for about $32.5 million. If he plays like he did in 2010–hitting .269 with 29 homers, 112 runs, and an .830 OPS that ranked fifth among all second basemen–then they’re getting a bargain. However, he averaged just 95 games per season from 2005-2009, including missing all but 37 games with a wrist injury in 2009, and has a .784 career OPS.
For comparison Dan Uggla–who was one of the four second basemen with a higher OPS than Weeks last season but is also three years older–recently signed a five-year, $62 million extension with the Braves that covered his final season of arbitration and first four years of free agency. I’d rather have Weeks for $38.5 million over four years or $50 million over five years than Uggla for $62 million over five years, so it’s certainly a worthwhile gamble by Milwaukee.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.