Rickie Weeks and the Brewers agree to $50 million extension

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UPDATE: Rosenthal now says it’s a five-year deal worth $50 million, but the Brewers can void the fifth year if Weeks “is not an everyday player in 2013 and 2014.” That provision eliminates some of the health-related risks, but that’s still a huge investment in player who’s provided star-level value just once in five seasons.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported yesterday that Rickie Weeks and the Brewers were working on a contract extension for at least three and as many as five years, and now Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the two sides have agreed to a four-year deal with a team option for 2015.

No word yet on the money, but Haudricourt guesses it “would well exceed $30 million.” Weeks had been seeking $7.2 million in his third and final season of arbitration eligibility while the Brewers countered at $4.75 million. They had a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Weeks is coming off a career-year that saw him hit .269 with 29 homers, 112 runs, and an .830 OPS. He also stayed totally healthy for the first time, playing 160 games after averaging just 95 games in his first five seasons. Given his injury history committing to Weeks long term is a sizable risk for the Brewers, but he’ll be just 31 years old in the fourth season of the deal and when healthy he’s among the best-hitting second basemen in baseball. Plus, this allows them to avoid letting Weeks walk as a free agent along with Prince Fielder next offseason.

Pirates activate Starling Marte

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.

Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.