Rickie Weeks’ deal with Brewers worth at least $38.5 million and as much as $50 million

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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.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves