Happy Fourth of July to everyone; or if you're reading this from your office on the fifth of the month, welcome back to work.
In order to make room for younger brother Jered Weaver -- in both the roster and the rotation -- Jeff Weaver has been designated for assignment. The roster move came after a disastrous start against Colorado, in which he only lasted two innings while giving up 6 runs on 9 hits, one of them a homerun. He also hit a batter, although he didn't walk any others. This ruined what had otherwise been a fine month of June and end of May for Jeff Weaver after a terrible start to the season. Minus the Colorado start, here are his starts, broken into two groups:
|April 5-May 19||7.30||7.85||5.11||2.56||2.19||12.23||2.00|
|May 24-June 21||3.86||4.58||7.96||1.69||1.21||9.17||4.71|
Those look like two completely different pitchers, and the second one is a very good one. The homerun rate is a little high for my tastes, but he wasn't walking anyone, and his hit rate was pretty standard. Part of Weaver's problems early on in the season, besides the poor control and flurry of homeruns, was his inability to induce infield flies. In 2004, 17.3% of his batted balls were infield flies, while in 2005 13.4% were of that type. He only has managed 4.3% so far this season, which is most likely part of the problem. When you don't give the defense easy outs, you're only going to make it more difficult on yourself (obviously).
Weaver may not be as good as his stretch of successful starts shows him to be; there is a good chance that he is very much like the Jeff Weaver from 2005, who was a LAIM (league-average innings muncher). This is a starter that many rotations around the league could use, and considering that they either have to pick up his remaining salary or give the Angels someone with a pulse in return for him due to his DFA, there is no reason that the Dodgers or Cardinals or any other team searching for help at the bottom of the rotation shouldn't pick him up. Considering the price that Ned Colletti just paid for a pitcher who is about as valuable as Weaver when he's at his very (lucky) best, the availability of the older Weaver shouldn't last long. If it takes longer for Weaver to be picked up than Russ Ortiz, I might just lose it, especially since Ortiz is on a multi-year contract.
The destinations I find most interesting are San Diego, where Clay Hensley and Woody Williams are still in the rotation. Williams has pitched well lately, and Hensley hasn't exploded yet, but depth is always nice to have. San Diego would be able to make the most out of Weaver in their extremely severe pitcher's park. Another obvious place for Weaver is in St. Louis, where Sidney Ponson remains a viable option. 'Nuff said.
Colorado actually might not be too bad of a place for him to go either; the park index for homeruns has dropped considerably the past two seasons, and Weaver is still mostly a groundball pitcher (40% of batted balls are grounders this year; his G/F has dropped closer and closer to 1.00 the last few seasons though). Even if he was there simply as a swingman: this is something David Pinto mentioned earlier in the season. Weaver is very effective for 3-4 innings before imploding, so using him as a (very) long relief type might be the best use of his abilities. The idea of tandem starters is one of the ones I hope to see employed somewhere sometime soon, especially in a place like Colorado.
The Mets might end up needing some depth in the rotation in order to rest Pedro Martinez more often, especially with him reaggravating his hip injury. I say the Mets take him simply so other NL contenders cannot, but that's just me. The Giants may also need some more help in the rotation; Jamey Wright is the fifth starter, and his K/BB is only 1.20. It certainly couldn't hurt, and it would keep Weaver from going back to the divisional rival -- and fellow NL West contender -- Dodgers, who supposedly have their eye on Jeff again. Considering that the Dodgers just picked up Mark Hendrickson, they own Brett Tomkos' disabled list stint and high-wire act, and the fact that the exponentially-less-effective-as-time-goes-on Odalis Perez still has a job every fifth day there, Weaver might look like a viable option.