Rickie Weeks on the M’s: Why?
So, when I heard the news that the Mariners picked up Rickie Weeks, I was awfully confused. And I still am, in a sense. I know that the Mariners had some master plan in mind when they picked up Weeks, and I think I might have an idea of what it might be. Here’s the facts:
Jim Bowden seems to think that Weeks is going to be playing in the outfield and second base, which would be all well and good, except for the fact that the Mariners already have a plethora of outfielders. There’s also the fact that as of this writing, Weeks hasn’t shown up on the M’s depth chart. (Sidebar, seeing Chris Taylor as the starter on the depth chart makes me happy)
So what does this mean? The way I see it, the only way Weeks is going to play second if Robinson Cano gets hurt, which is always a possibility, as much as I hate to say it.
So that means he’s playing in either left or right. If we eliminate him starting in left, due to the amount of time and effort in converting Dustin Ackley, that leaves right field, where recently acquired Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith. Unless they’re planning some kind of trade for either of those two, I don’t see him playing in right either.
There’s always the possibility that he could platoon in left with Ackley. Weeks bats right and Ackley left, so that seems to be the most valid option there.
Either that, or the M’s picked up their next Willie Bloomquist. Man, I love Willie. His name evokes for me the “classic ballplayer” sense, like he was supposed to play with Mickey Mantle. But that’s besides the point.
Bloomquist is 37, and probably close to retiring (his contract is up in 2016). Weeks is 32, and has more gas in the tank than Bloomquist does.
The only problem with Weeks fitting in a utility role is that he’s only ever played second at the professional level. While it’s not likely that he would play very many games as a utility player, I definitely don’t want to go into the season with somebody on our roster that only knows how to play anything besides a position we’ve paid $240 million to cover. Doesn’t exactly seem logical to me.
Bottom line, the M’s have a few options in play here:
1. Trade Ruggiano away and use Weeks instead.
2. Keep Ruggiano, and use Weeks to platoon in left with Ackley.
3. Have Weeks duke it out with Bloomquist to become the Mariners’ next Mark McLemore.
I think the most valid option is number 3. From my outsider’s view, this is where Weeks fits in best.