No one seems to think the Brewers have any chance of keeping Prince Fielder beyond 2011, but Rickie Weeks is also one season away from becoming a free agent and told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he’s “open to listening” if the team wants to pursue a contract extension.
Weeks revealed that his agent has “had one phone call” about it with general manager Doug Melvin, adding: “I’ve said to Doug before, ‘I’m ready.’ So we’ll leave it at that and see where that takes us.”
Weeks has battled injuries throughout his career and tends to be overlooked somewhat even when healthy because his low batting averages mask otherwise strong production, but this season he played 160 games and led the league with 754 plate appearances while posting an .830 OPS that ranked fifth among all MLB second basemen behind Robinson Cano, Dan Uggla, Kelly Johnson, and Chase Utley.
Counting on Weeks to stay healthy going forward is a risk, as his career-high in games was 129 prior to this season, but he’s still just 28 years old and few middle infielders bring as much power and plate discipline to the table offensively.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.