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The Risk of Giving Rickie Weeks Five Years

Rickie Weeksphoto © 2007 Jeramey Jannene | more info (via: Wylio)

After everything that was reported on Tuesday, it seems like a longterm extension for Rickie Weeks is imminent. With his arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday, it seems possible that something could be done as soon as today. Ken Rosenthal has reported that talks are focusing on a deal between three and five years, buying out at least two years of free agency.

As I’ve said many times before, it’s imperative to get Weeks locked up past this season. The Brewers simply won’t be able to compete at the level they’re supposed to be at this season without him in the lineup. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been screaming “SIGN. THIS. MAN.” for the past 10 months. Unless you’re a member of the Milwaukee BBWAA, Weeks was undoubtedly the team’s MVP last season.

But I would be worried about giving him five years.

He’s been extremely good when healthy. He’s as important to the future of the team as Yovani Gallardo or Ryan Braun. But that first part should be enough to make anyone think worry about giving Weeks big money four or five years down the road. Last season was the first time in his career he’s played more than 130 games.

The possibility of injuries is always a concern when it comes to handing out longterm deals, but when the player in question has already had difficulty staying healthy, it becomes a little easiser to understand why these negotiations have taken so long. I don’t doubt that the organization wants to get Weeks locked up, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t at least have some concern about his ability to stay healthy for the duration of the contract. If there’s good news with Weeks’ injury history, it’s that he hasn’t suffered anything that makes him more likely to get hurt again in the future — no back or shoulder problems, no knee injuries, etc.

I’ve felt for awhile, though, that a three-year deal might work best for both sides right now. The Brewers get to buy out two years of free agency and keep him through 2013, and Weeks gets the chance to prove that he can stay healthy. If Weeks can get through most of that contract without any further problems, perhaps they can try to tack on another year or two and they end up keeping him through 2015 anyway. Unless the Brewers feel like they can get a significant discount by signing him for that many years right now, going for five years almost seems like an unneccessary risk. Then again, I’m a guy that doesn’t tend to like longterm deals that are much longer than three years, anyway.

So let’s throw this open for discussion. Would anyone else be worried about giving Weeks five years?