Jered Weaver is a ballplayer, through and through; a man whose slim, lanky build and blonde hair would give off chill Spicoli vibes, until you saw him on the mound and realized he was the polar opposite. He was a tenacious pitbull, a gamer, a dude you’d have to drag off the field to get him to quit the sport he loves. Jered Weaver is a ballplayer, but unfortunately, being a true embodiment of the sport does not guarantee that you will be allowed to play said sport.
We had a feeling that we’d seen the last of Jered Weaver in an Angels uniform, considering he couldn't even make what was supposed to be his last start of the season in 2016, due to injuries and fatigue aplenty. But there was some hope he’d still be out there throwing...just not for the Halos. So far, it’s looking like he’s got few, if any, options if he wants to continue playing the game for which he was born.
Sure, there was the Padres offer. That was the most solid of any Weaver rumors, which there weren’t many of to begin with, but it’s also interesting to note just how uninterested the Angels were/are in Weaver this offseason. Weaver is 2nd all time in franchise wins, 5th overall in games started, 3rd in innings pitched, and 3rd most strikeouts in franchise history. And yet, they are done with him.
LA Times’ Bill Shaikin had a piece about the Halos today, in which he called them a sleeper pick for the playoffs (he’s not the first to call this shot in recent season previews...forget about what PECOTA says!), but hidden in the text was a little update on where Weaver stands with the franchise, and I’m not pointing it out because I disagree, but only to show just how brutal professional sports can be on the players it loves the most.
As it turns out, Angels GM Billy Eppler hasn’t had any talks about bringing back Weaver, not even if it’s at an absolute bargain. Here’s what Eppler had to say:
If the Angels can’t afford to buy quality arms, and if the minor league system can’t deliver them at the moment, Eppler is gambling that the team is better off rolling the dice on high-ceiling arms than on journeymen who might be gone in a year anyway.
He said he has had no conversations with longtime ace Jered Weaver about returning, no matter how opportunistic a deal the Angels might be able to strike.
“In our circumstances, we’re definitely trying to build that depth and build it through youth,” Eppler said. “That offers flexibility and youth you might not get in an older player. You might not get that chance to hit big.
“For us, we need to hit big on a couple things to really move our meter.”
So, the Angels just aren’t interested in going down the Weaver road any more, and I can’t really blame them. It’s a bummer, but it’s the right move. I’m glad I do not have to make those decisions, because my heart would be screaming to offer the guy something, anything, all in hopes of getting to see an all-time Angels great have a few more days in the sun. Ultimately, this feeling will pass and the game will go on, but we’ll never forget Weaver.
Will he get another deal for 2017? I sure hope so. Weaver has said he wants to pitch in 2017, but will he even get that opportunity?