We need to talk about Jered Weaver, one of your favorite Angels players and all around good dude...and formerly great pitcher. That last part is the reason we need to take a seat, maybe have a cup of coffee, and discuss the future of our former Ace. Ya see, Jered Weaver just doesn't have a fastball any more, and it's getting to the point where it's cruel to allow him out there on the field once a week or so to get shelled and embarrassed. The sun is setting on the 33 year old's career, and it's high time we realize this, and more importantly, put him out of his misery before things get worse and he costs the Angels a handful of important wins in the process.
As shocked or saddened as you may be by this heavy situation, you have to admit that you're not shocked. At least, not if you've been paying attention. Weaver The Younger, as we so lovingly call him around here with utmost reverence, was never a fireballer, but he still could get enough gas on the ball, coupled with good breaking or off-speed stuff, to strike guys out or induce a bevy of pop ups. Those days are gone, and it wasn't a sudden collapse or disappearance of his arm. No, you should have seen this coming. Here's the baseball equivalent of a doctor telling you it might be time to quit your day job and focus on enjoying what's left of your life:
Jered Weaver topping out at 80 shouldn't be that big of surprise... He likes to keep trends going. pic.twitter.com/uliglff3Os— Daren Willman (@darenw) March 9, 2016
The fastball has been becoming less and less fast every year, and things are probably not going to turn around. Again, this is why it shouldn't come as a shock to you. Hopefully you've moved past shock, denial, anger, bargaining and depression, and have found yourself settled at acceptance; acceptance that Jered Weaver doesn't have what it takes to be an MLB starting pitcher any more, and acceptance that the team's most fiery and intense competitor is headed towards the sunset.
We had hopes there for a bit, although looking back on them now, they were silly pipe dreams. Some thought that maybe he could get by on pure deception and an off-speed chasm that could still swallow up batters, a la Jamie Moyer. Jered Weaver is not Jamie Moyer. Then there was the news that Weaver had finally started stretching, and perhaps that could help him find something left in his pro ball gas tank. But the only revelation worth noting from that tidbit had more to do with a utterly silly and basic failure of the Angels' training staff. Stretching can't save Jered Weaver, as we've seen this Spring while he's gotten shelled and smacked around on the diamond.
No, it's time to just face the facts as Angels fans: Jered Weaver doesn't have "it" any more. At this point, the best thing you can do for an ailing creature of God who is too hobbled and hurt to continue on is to put them out of there misery. Mike Scioscia can't be trusted to do this job, because shown us far too many times in the past that he'll trot out veterans and gutsy players well after the point where they should have hung up the cleats. This needs to be a parting of ways started by Jered Weaver himself, and accepted and embraced(as tough as that may be) by fans. It's the humane thing to do.
It's not like the Angels have options. They came into camp with about 8 potential starting pitchers. One of the more interesting storylines was seeing who would pan out, and how long it'd take to get a clearer picture of what the 2016 rotation was going to look like. A week into Spring Training games, we now know a few things.
1. Tyler Skaggs will probably miss a week or two of the regular season due to some soreness in his arm, coming off Tommy John surgery.
2. C.J. Wilson has a little case of tendinitis, and will also probably miss a couple starts
3. Jered Weaver, as much as we love him, is dying out there and it's only Spring Training. Someone take him out back, Old Yeller style(metaphorically speaking, of course).
That still leaves the Angels with serviceable starting rotation pieces. They have guys that can get the job done, provided they don't run into any hiccups themselves this Spring. It isn't the fanciest or most lights out rotation, but it wont be chopped liver, either. You're going to see Hector Santiago, Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano. That is, if the Angels and/or Jered Weaver do what's right, and know when it's time to make a tough, career ending decision.
What you don't want to do is just hope and pray that Weaver magically regains his fastball and somehow corrects a downward spiral that's years into the making. Baseball doesn't work that way, and if you think Weaver is getting rocked now, just wait til the regular season starts. But, would anybody actually think that way to begin with?
Mike Scioscia on Jered Weaver: "He’s proved he can go out there and compete with velocity that's not what you’re used to seeing."— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) March 10, 2016
You see? That's why it's going to come down to Jered Weaver having to be the one to say something; he will have to be the one to pull the trigger on himself. Mike Scioscia is too cowardly and/or outright dumb to do it himself. It will take a sad, depressing revelation on Weaver's part, and it's sad that it has to come to it. Mike Scioscia, in a perfect world, would be able to pull the trigger himself, and in the face of any harsh questioning from the fan base he could reply "They shoot horses, don't they?".
But it doesn't look like that's going to happen just yet. Weaver will have to do it himself, or he'll have to put a few losses on the board to force Billy Eppler's hand. Look, I know it's sad. This was the guy that took a hometown discount when signing an extension in 2011. He literally said "How much more do you need? Could have got more, whatever. Who cares?" and we loved him for that. We STILL love him. But things have changed and it's time to move on, and if we're waiting for the right time to pull the plug, well...there will NEVER be a right time, because it will always hurt. But the memories shall remain. Let's let Weaver go out with some dignity.