Rickie Weeks: Arbitration numbers have been exchanged and Rickie is asking for $2.8 million, the Brewers have countered with a $2 million offer. What is Rickie thinking asking for $2.8 million? With a career .245 BA, .352 OBP averaging 13 HR and 39 RBI a year. Not to mention a career .965 fielding percentage. He's shown an ability to steal bases, and when he gets on base, he's got a knack for scoring. Last year, 46% of the time Rickie got on base, he came around to score. But if you can't get on base, what does that matter? I anticipate this getting settled before arbitration, because that's the Doug Melvin way, but I think the number will be closer to the Brewers $2 million.
Corey Hart: Corey submitted $3.8 million as his arbitration number, the Brewers offered $2.7 million. Corey was the MVP last year... from April to the All-Star Break. His struggles down the stretch are well documented, but I believe Corey is worth a long-term investment. However, some news broke today that should be used when negotiating with Corey. Jayson Werth just signed a two-year deal worth $10 million; $3 million this year, $7 million next year. Arguments can be made that Corey Hart and Jayson Werth are the same player, but last year, Werth pulled through for the Phillis when it mattered most, in my opinion, making him more valuable. This contract also buys out one year of Werth's free agency. What I propose is sitting down with Corey and hammering out a four-year deal worth $27 million. $3 million this year (meeting the Brewers' salary requirement for 2009), $5 million in 2010, $8 million in 2011, $11 million in 2012. This buys out all of his arbitration years plus one year of free agency. You can't put a price on financial security either, just ask Ryan Braun.
Now the big fish, Prince Fielder: The Boras client submitted a number that everyone was talking about... because it was so low. With all the comparisons made to Ryan Howard and his record $10 million awarded in arbitration last year, Fielder submitted a number of $8 million compared to $6 million by the Brewers. Either number is defensible, Fielder's offensive prowess far exceed his defensive short-comings. On the other hand, Fielder's increasing weight is a major concern. Now comes word that Fielder and the Brewers are working on a two year deal. Early estimates say it is for between $18-$20 million. Also, the fact that Fielder was recently added to the Brewers On-Deck event, leads to speculation that it's to announce the deal. My hopes are that it's for $7 million this year, and $12-13 million in 2010. Ideally I'd like about $15 million to be guaranteed with an additional $5 million in performance based incentives (with a weight clause maybe?). Obviously not going to happen, but a two year deal would be excellent, would give some buzz to the upcoming season.
I'm sure a lot is coming in the next few weeks...