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2015 Free Agent Profile: Rickie Weeks

While the Mets have no immediate need for a second baseman, if Daniel Murphy were to be traded, Rickie Weeks could provide the Mets with a much-needed power bat.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets already seem to have second base covered for the 2015 season, with Daniel Murphy unlikely to be moved this offseason and providing adequate defense and solid offensive contributions at the position. However, with no plans by the team to attempt to lock Murphy up long term at the moment, it is possible that he'll be dealt this offseason if the right deal comes along, especially with his arbitration price tag likely to approach $10 million.

If Murphy is moved, the Mets could look to Rickie Weeks as a replacement to add some pop to their middle infield. Weeks has hit as many as 29 home runs in a season, and hit more than 20 in each season between 2010 and 2012. He is coming off of an unusual offensive season by his standards in which he saw his home run total and walk rates drop, paired with a sharp rise in average, on base percentage, and slugging. His final batting line of .274/.357/.452 looks especially appealing coming from a middle infielder

It should be noted that a .355 BABIP raises some questions about the sustainability of this production. Weeks maintained a line drive rate (18.3%) in 2014 which was essentially in line with his career norms and would not suggest an expected change in batted-ball outcome. However, he posted a career high ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio of 2.27, which may indicate a change in his approach at the plate this season. Some reports stated that Weeks did in fact change his batting stance during spring training to get his hands through the zone quicker, which may account for the sudden shift in his batted-ball profile.

If these offensive changes are sustainable, Weeks could provide well-above-average offensive production at the position. While his home run total (8) was lower than usual, Weeks's home-run-to-fly-ball ratio was 17.8%, which was actually the second-best ratio he has achieved in his career, suggesting that the power is still there but that Weeks is being more selective about which balls he elevates.

Defensively, Weeks undoes all of the goodwill he may earn with his work at the plate. Weeks can best be described as an unmitigated disaster at second base. A -23.5 UZR/150 in 2014 was in line with values from the previous two years, which top out at an atrocious -16.9.

Below-average range and the kind of stone hands you generally only find on ancient Greek statues make Weeks a huge liability in the infield, sapping a great deal of the value that his bat provides. This is why even with a 127 wRC+in 2014, Weeks was only worth 1.2 fWAR, making him overall below-replacement level on the season. Given Weeks's refusal to learn new positions as recently as this past season, he also provides significantly less versatility than Murphy, who can play at first, second, and third base.

Overall the defensively challenged Weeks probably isn't the best fit for a Mets team that is trying to build a contender on the backs of a young pitching staff. In the absence of Murphy, Weeks's offensive output would be ideal for a Mets team in search of more runs, but his defensive shortcomings would likely far outweigh the benefits of his bat since occasionally hiding him at another position is not an option.

Given the dearth of second base options currently available via free agency, Weeks is likely to receive offers from a number of teams even with his reputation as a poor fielder; the Mets should not be one of those teams.