The Brewers are still trying to sign second baseman Rickie Weeks to a long-term extension, reports Anthony Witrado of The Sporting News. We heard last month that the two sides had set aside the extension talks to focus on Weeks' 2011 contract, but given that Weeks set the start of Spring Training as his deadline for any negotiations about a multiyear pact, the Brewers were no doubt interested in revisiting the topic given that their camp opens next week.
"We'll get a better sense of where we are in the next couple of days," Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin tells Witrado. "We still have a little bit of time. We're always optimistic we can get something done, and we're still engaged in multiyear talks. If we don't (get that done) then we have to focus on this year."
Weeks' arbitration hearing is set for February 17, which Witrado notes is also the same day that the Brewers' pitchers and catchers hold their first spring workout. Weeks filed an arbitration number of $7.2MM, while Milwaukee has a counter-offer worth $4.85MM. This is Weeks' last year of arbitration eligibility and he'll be a free agent after the 2011 campaign.
Milwaukee assistant GM Gord Ash has handled negotiations with Greg Genske, Weeks' agent, and Ash tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he and Genske "are still talking" but gave no further comments. In a separate piece, Haudricourt reports that Ash and Genske have found "it difficult to find a common ground" about Weeks' value given the second baseman's injury history before his breakout 2010 season. A team source tells Haudricourt that the Brewers don't want to lose both Weeks and Prince Fielder to free agency next winter, and an extension for Weeks will be much less expensive than the $200MM contract that Fielder reportedly wants.