Admittedly I am the internet's biggest Rickie Weeks fan (check out this post that looked so awesome on Opening Day) so perhaps I am a bit biased, but I don't think Felipe Lopez will be back next season and I don't even think there is a chance. Why do I think this? It's simple. This quote from Doug Melvin:
"We view Rickie as our second baseman at this point."
Or in other words, Felipe Lopez won't be back.
Now, make no mistake about it the Brewers WILL offer him arbitration. I think that could be part of the reason they traded for him in the first place. (Last season when the Brewers traded for CC Sabathia they had a plan. Make the playoffs and then replace the farm system they lost through picks from Sabathia and Sheets signing elsewhere. Only one of those two things happened and the system wasn't as deep as it might have been therefore they weren't as free to make a move this season. That's just a theory of mine though.) The fact is he's a Boras client coming off a great season and Boras thinks he can get more than a one year deal in the open market, but for a second let's just say he accepts arbitration. Could he be back? I say no. If on the crazy off-chance that Lopez accepts arbitration, the argument to keep him makes some sense. Here's a good 0ne laid out at BrewCrewBall by roguejim:
The biggest reason why I think offering arby to FeLo might be prudent is because our infield will have a lot of question marks next season, and far fewer options if something goes wrong. JJ Hardy will likely be traded this offseason, as (probably) will one of Mat Gamel/Casey McGehee. That would mean that, accompanying Prince Fielder in the infield, we have Rickie Weeks (who hasn't yet played in 130 games in a season), rookie Alcides Escobar at short, and something of a question mark at third in McGamee (either a player with big numbers in the minors but limited success in the majors, or a player who hit well last season despite mediocre minor league numbers). Given that we'll be starting these three all at the same time, it would be remarkable shocking if all three are playing, and playing well, all season.
The problem here, of course, is that it doesn't consider what Felipe Lopez wants. Felipe Lopez does not want to be on the bench. He does not want to be someone kept around "in case something goes wrong" and he has every right not to want to be that guy. He hit .300 last season at 2B where the average NL second baseman hit .268. He's not that great of a 2B defensively and if forced to play at short or 3B he would probably be worse. The best place for Felipe Lopez is starting at 2B and the best place for him to do that would be somewhere else. So on the off-off chance that he did accept arbitration I fully expect the Brewers to trade him (Which is exactly what he'll request when he finds out he doesn't have a starting job.)
Say what you want about Rickie Weeks, but the team is dedicated to him in 2010 and I think that he earned it with the way he started off 2009. Besides when it comes down to it, when it's close you ALWAYS take the 27-year old over the 30-year old. That's just science.