No Weeks? No Problem.

The Brewers suffered a blow yesterday when it was announced that Rickie Weeks would need season ending surgery on his wrist. Weeks was off to a strong start to the ’09 season, racking up a +1.5 win value in 162 plate appearances. He was showing significant power, and more importantly for a heavily right-handed Brewers line-up, he was lighting up right-handed pitching, helping Milwaukee compensate for a lack of left-handed bats in the line-up. Replacing Weeks’ production will be near impossible for the Brewers.

They do have options, though. Craig Counsell continues to defy the aging curve, showing surprising bat speed for a 38-year-old and playing his usual excellent defense. Counsell has been a league average major leaguer for each of the last three years, making him one of baseball’s best part-time players. He’s capable of stepping into a full time role at second and not creating a hole.

If the Brewers wanted to get a more offensive arrangement, they could slide Bill Hall over to second base and let Mat Gamel play third. However, with a pitch to contact staff and a defense that is one of the main reasons the surging Brewers are in first place, the team is understandably wary of downgrading significantly at two infield spots and forcing their starting pitchers to overcome the gloves behind them rather than be empowered by them.

The Brewers have options. This is one of the reasons teams have become reluctant to move “blocked” players, as injuries inevitably pile up and allow the team to avoid panicking when they are forced to deviate from their original plan. Milwaukee fans should be grateful that they have a management staff who gave them a roster that could handle the loss of one of their better players. Rather than having to ship off a prospect to bring in a stop gap replacement, the Brewers can patch the hole at second base for the rest of 2009 internally, and then give Weeks his job back next spring.

Losing Weeks will hurt the Brewers, but it won’t cripple them, thanks to good planning and resource allocation by the front office.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Ed Nelson
Ed Nelson

I think this is a bit more of a problem than it would seem at first. The issue here is who is going to get on base in front of Braun and Fielder? As it stands now, pitchers have basically decided not to pitch to either of them (Fielder walked an insane 4 times last night), and without Weeks on base putting some pressure on the opposing team I wonder if either one of them sees a good pitch for the rest of the year.