Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Jeff Weaver Next for Halos?

MLB.com reported back on the December 5th that Scott Boras was "thought" to be talking to the Angels about a contract for his client, Jeff Weaver. The right-handed starter who played for the Dodgers last season is the brother of Angel prospect (and 2004 first round pick) Jared Weaver. Jeff Weaver went 14-11 with a 4.22 ERA for the Blue Crew and has a career 78 - 87 record with a 4.44 ERA.

The Angels make a decent fit for Weaver, who is a Southern California native and a natural mentor for his brother Jared. But Angel GM Bill Stoneman can not overpay for a guy with an ERA north of 4 but with Scott Boras as his agent, that might be easier said than done. It is not clear what the market for Weaver is right now but the eight-year veteran who turns 30 this August is entering a crucial stage of his career. Weaver needs to prove he can excel at the Major League level, something he has never done. Partly it has to do with the fact that Weaver has played on some pretty bad teams including the Detroit Tigers (1999 - 2002) and the LA Dodgers last season. Inbetween he spent a couple of seasons with the Yankees where Weaver looked to be overwhelmed before being traded out of town in 2004 to the Dodgers after posting a 7-9 record with a horrendous 5.99 ERA.

If the Angels do sign Weaver the question becomes is he guaranteed a spot in the rotation? The Angels have promised Hector Carrasco that he could compete for a starting job in Spring Training but if Weaver is offered a contract it would figure to be his rotation spot to lose. Weaver set a career high in wins last season with 14 and walked just 43 batters compared to 157 strikeouts. While his ERA has been questionable, Weaver's control seems to be pinpoint. This could be a case where a pitcher just needs to learn to pitch smarter and confront less to become a truly outstanding player. If that is the case, then this is the opportune time to bring in the elder Weaver.

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