Mariners close to deal with Rickie Weeks
Just a week before the start of Spring Training, the Mariners are close to adding another veteran to their roster as a source confirmed that free agent infielder Rickie Weeks has an agreement in place on a one-year deal.
The Mariners declined to confirm the signing, originally reported by ESPN’s Jim Bowden. Weeks has yet to take a physical exam, which would be needed before finalizing the deal.
Weeks, 32, played strictly second base in his 11-year career with the Brewers, but obviously would be used elsewhere by the Mariners, given six-time All-Star Robinson Cano’s presence at that position.
Bowden reported the deal carries a $2 million base salary, with another potential $2 million in incentives.
The Brewers talked of using Weeks in the outfield last year. He balked at that idea, but could presumably be used as a corner outfielder or utility infielder by Seattle. The Mariners have Dustin Ackley returning in left field and acquired veterans Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano this winter to likely platoon in right field.
Weeks put up a .274/.357/.452 slash line with 19 doubles, eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 252 at-bats with Milwaukee last year while platooning primarily against left-handed pitchers. He hit 29 home runs and 83 RBIs in 2010, was a National League All-Star in 2011 and carries a career .249 average with a .771 OPS. But his numbers and playing time dropped the past three years and the Brewers declined his contract option for 2015 at the conclusion of a four-year, $38 million deal.
The signing is something of a surprise for Seattle, given Cano’s presence at second and Kyle Seager at third base. But the Mariners have been looking to add veteran, right-handed bats to their lineup and it remains to be seen how Weeks might be worked into the mix.
Veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist has one year remaining on his contract with Seattle, but is coming off microfracture knee surgery and isn’t a sure thing to be ready for the start of the season.