Why the Angels Made the Right Call Letting Weaver Walk.

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Updated: February 20, 2017

I loved Jered Weaver as much as the next guy; he was a true competitor, a guy who fought hard every time on the mound, and a guy who was as much the heart and soul of the Angels as anybody else. Saying goodbye is never easy, but at this point in his career, the Halos made the right call letting Weaver walk. Here’s why:

His Performance – Really, this is the beginning and the end of the discussion in a lot of ways; Weaver just isn’t ace-caliber anymore. Weaver has out-pitched his peripherals for years, posting an ERA below his FIP every year since 2011. Basically this means that Weaver has produced better results than he should have, all things considered. That’s okay, bulldogs will do that, and some pitchers build a career on that. Weaver was easily one of the ten best pitchers in baseball from 2010-2012 and generated a ton of value for the Angels in his career. He really started showing serious signs of regression in 2013, and in 2014 it began to catch up to him, despite the gaudy win total. (We know pitcher wins are bogus, though. Right?) It all finally fell apart for Weaver the past two seasons, as he posted ERA’s of 4.68 and 5.06 the last two seasons, respectively, while allowing a league-leading thirty-seven(!) home runs pitching mainly in pitchers’ parks. Giving up almost forty home runs with an ERA over five is not the kind of season you’d like to put together when you’re going to be looking for a job.

His Age – Weaver is now thirty-four years old, and while that’s not necessarily terribly old for a pitcher, it’s obvious that Weaver is not aging well. Weaver’s velocity, never particularly high in the first place, has dropped so much that questions about whether Weaver could even continue his career began popping up. Seriously, throwing the ball up there at 82 miles an hour is just not going to get the job done, hence the thirty-seven home runs allowed.

His Role – Maybe you could envision the Angels bringing Weaver back if he were willing to accept a spot in the bullpen, but that never seemed particularly likely given what a competitor Weaver is. Given that Weaver would command a spot in the rotation, deserved or not, it just doesn’t make sense to bring him back. The Halos have brought in a lot of young, high-upside pitchers who are on cheap, cheap contracts, and blocking one of them for a player way on the downside of his career just doesn’t make sense at this point for the Halos, who are slowly trying to move forward.

His Contract – Weaver ended up getting $3 million, which doesn’t seem like a lot, until you remember just how poor of a season Weaver had last year. It’s not like he’s going from a hitter’s park to a pitcher’s park, either; he pitched the majority of his games at Angel Stadium, Safeco Field, or O.Co Coliseum, all notorious pitcher’s parks. Although it might be foolish to bet against Weaver, it’s hard to envision him really bouncing back at this point.

The Bottom Line – It’s never an easy thing to see a fan favorite walk away, particularly one who’s been as good as Weaver was for the Angels. Weaver was the face of the pitching staff for years, the leader in the clubhouse, and a guy the Angels could count on. All good things come to an end, though, and Weaver just doesn’t have a place on this team anymore. I, for one, am going to miss seeing Weaver, but I’m also not necessarily sad to see him go. There’s a time for everything, and this was the time for Weaver to walk. For once, the Angels are the ones making the smart moves in free agency.

 

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