Jemile Weeks entered last season as the Athletics’ starting second baseman, but a sophomore slump resulted in a demotion in August and being left off the postseason roster. But he’ll have a chance at redemption in 2013.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, Weeks and Scott Sizemore will be part of what Athletics manager Bob Melvin has called an “open competition” at second base.
“I think it’s going to be a nice competition over there,” Melvin said. “Just because someone starts there Opening Day doesn’t mean someone else might not be there the next day based on a matchup.”
Adam Rosales and prospect Grant Green will also get looks during spring training, but Weeks and Sizemore are considered the favorites for the gig. Sizemore is coming off a lost season of his own, as he missed all of 2012 following surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. He will also get playing time at third base during Cactus League play, but Josh Donaldson is expected to enter spring training with a job to lose.
After batting .303/.340/.421 with two homers, 22 stolen bases and a .761 OPS in 97 games as a rookie in 2011, Weeks delivered a disappointing .221/.305/.304 batting line in 118 games with the A’s last year. While the 26-year-old didn’t hit as many line drives last year, his .254 batting average on balls in play was incredibly low for someone with his speed. If he can make the proper adjustments and have some better luck, a rebound season could be in the cards.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.