A’s odd decision to demote Jemile Weeks

Last night, the A’s acquired shortstop Stephen Drew from Arizona.

Today, that move set off a chain-reaction of roster moves. The most notable was the unexpected demotion of second baseman Jemile Weeks.

Weeks arrived in Oakland last season and was an instant hit. After hitting .303 in 97 games in 2011, he appeared to a cornerstone player for the A’s. But he just never got rolling this season. He heads to Sacramento after hitting just .220 in 113 games for the A’s.

The A’s decided to keep light-hitting shortstop Cliff Pennington over Weeks. Pennington will split time with Adam Rosales at second base. It’s really an odd move to demote your everyday second baseman and switch to a platoon of guys that haven’t played the position much.

Manager Bob Melvin spoke with the media about the move:

“It’s a difficult decision. Based on [Stephen Drew] coming here and what we’ve seen out of [Weeks] this year, we felt it was the right thing to do.”

As stunning as the move was, it sounds as though Weeks wasn’t blindsided by the news. Here’s what Weeks told MLB.com’s Jane Lee:

“For some reason I feel like I was prepared for the news. It’s disappointing, because I know I could have done more as a player, but I’m still happy with the way I took the decline in my average.”

The demotion hasn’t put a dent in Weeks’ confidence in his abilities.

“…At the end of the day, I’m going to be a star in this game, man. You gotta have your ups and downs. It just makes the story that much sweeter when you come back. I don’t want to expound too much on it, but you’re looking at a star, period.”

Weeks’ demotion came just before the A’s players were set to take their team photo. A’s beat writers in the clubhouse described the scene as Weeks packed up his locker while his teammates for 113 games headed out to the field in full uniforms to take the photo.

Aside from the poor timing of the announcement, Pennington should have been the player demoted. Weeks is a more dynamic player and has a brighter future.

But clearly the A’s think it will be better for Weeks to work on his approach and mechanics at the plate in the minor leagues. Weeks will probably be back in Oakland when rosters expand on September 1.