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.