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02/03/09 4:55 PM EST
Weeks agrees to pre-arbitration deal
Hart lone remaining player eligible for hearing process
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers agreed to terms with second baseman Rickie Weeks on a $2.45 million, one-year contract on Tuesday while continuing to negotiate with their only other arbitration-eligible player. With Weeks in the fold, right fielder Corey Hart was the last of the Brewers up for arbitration, the process by which teams and eligible players -- generally those with between three and six years of Major League service -- set year-to-year salaries. Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said he had a number of brief conversations on Monday with agent Jeff Berry regarding Hart but that, "a gap still remains." Hart filed for a $3.8 million salary in arbitration while the team offered $2.7 million. Talks progressed much more smoothly with Weeks, Milwaukee's unconventional leadoff hitter. He will reportedly earn a $2.45 million base salary in 2009 plus an additional $100,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances from 575 to 650. That would be uncharted territory for Weeks, who made a career-high 560 plate appearances in 2008, when he missed two weeks with a sprained left knee. In previous seasons, he was limited by hand and wrist injuries. As usual, the sides settled near the midpoint of arbitration figures filed on Jan. 20. Weeks was seeking $2.8 million in his first year of eligibility, while the Brewers offered $2 million. The second overall pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Weeks batted .234 last season with 14 home runs, 89 runs scored and a .342 on-base percentage. Weeks re-injured his left knee in Game 3 of the National League Division Series and underwent surgery Oct. 6 to repair the meniscus but is expected to arrive in Phoenix for Spring Training at full strength. As for Hart, the sides can continue negotiating until the date of a hearing before a three-member panel of judges, which selects one salary or the other. Hart's hearing is scheduled for February 18. Speaking to reporters at the Brewers' Winter Warm-Up on Jan. 23, Hart conceded he was a bit concerned about the difference between the team's filing and the one submitted by his agent.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.