Posted on February 18, 2017 by Bryan Zarpentine
The San Diego Padres have spent much of the offseason adding journeymen starting pitchers to their rotation, just hoping to make it through the season, as they continue a full-scale rebuilding project. A few days after the start of spring training, the Padres have added yet another veteran to their rotation. The Padres have agreed to a deal with 34-year old right Jered Weaver for one year and $3 million.
Weaver has spent all 11 years of his big league career with the Los Angeles Angels, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2004. However, Weaver’s numbers have started to drop off over the past couple of years, and so there was limited interest from teams this winter. Nevertheless, there are reports that Weaver had a chance to make more money elsewhere but chose to sign with the Padres in order to stay in southern California.
Another part of San Diego’s appeal from Weaver’s perspective is the chance to remain a starting pitcher. Considering his decline in performance the past couple of years, some teams may have been inclined to move Weaver to the bullpen. However, having never appeared as a reliever during his 11-year big league career, at least during the regular season, Weaver appears hesitant to make the switch.
Of course, Weaver being a starter for the Padres isn’t yet written in stone. The Padres have roughly 10 starting pitchers competing for rotation spots during spring training. However, one would think that the veterans the Padres signed over the winter, including Weaver, Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Cahill, and Clayton Richard have a leg up over San Diego’s younger pitchers.
Padres GM A.J. Preller also indicated that Weaver will be in the rotation. “When you sign Jered, you sign him with the idea that he’s going to pitch in the rotation,” Preller said. “The idea behind the signing was somebody who can log innings, somebody who still has a lot to prove and wants to pitch.”
Preller is also excited to add a pitcher with Weaver’s experience to such a young pitching staff. “He’s always been a winner, his entire career,” said Preller. “(He) has been there, been in the postseason. I think from that standpoint, he brings a lot to our team and some of the other pitchers that are in that locker room.” In four career postseason starts and three relief appearances, Weaver has a 2.60 ERA.
With the addition of Weaver and the other veterans, Preller is confident the Padres will have a solid rotation this year. “It’s going to be a work in progress all spring,” Preller explained. “Hopefully we get to the end of spring and there’s a surplus and there’s a lot of guys who have a chance to pitch in the rotation for us. We definitely are trying to get some numbers and some depth.”
On the surface, the signing of Weaver seems to be a slam dunk for the Padres, as he’s a veteran who can eat up innings for them. But how much Weaver has left in the tank after posting a 5.06 ERA with the Angels last season remains to be seen. Nevertheless, on a team that isn’t expected to make much noise in 2017, Weaver could be a surprising asset for the Padres this year.