The San Diego Padres now have yet another rotation option to consider this spring, as the club added veteran Jered Weaver on Friday.
The move came just prior to the first full squad workout in spring training, and just two days after the first pitchers and catchers workout. It doesn’t seem that the veteran will miss a beat though, and the Padres are welcoming the added depth.
After all, the achilles heel of the club according to analysts is the starting pitching. Without pitching, a baseball team has no chance. And with the thin rotation the Padres had before they converted on several free agent signings, their 2017 outlook was bleak at best.
Since then, San Diego has pulled the trigger on a slew of one-year deals, securing Clayton Richard, Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Cahill, and Tyrell Jenkins for 2017. With the addition of Weaver, there is even more security for this young group, a staff which is seeking consistency and stability for the first time in a long time.
Without a doubt, Weaver is aging. Now at 34 years old, the eleven year veteran will compete for the first time in a uniform other than that of the Los Angeles Angels. Drafted by the Halos as the 12th overall pick in the 2004 draft, moving to San Diego will be quite a change of scenery for the veteran.
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This change may be welcomed for Weaver though, as beloved as he was in Anaheim. Since 2011, his second of three consecutive all star seasons, the right-hander’s ERA has consistently risen. Last season, Weaver finished with a 5.06 ERA in 31 starts, warranting him a 12-12 record.
The decline in Weaver’s statistics do not necessarily signal a decline in his ability. There are concerns, of course, like the 37 home runs he surrendered in 2016. And no one is expecting Weaver to return to previous form. General manager A.J. Preller couldn’t have pulled off a $3 million dollar deal if this was the case.
Still, if Weaver can provide stability in San Diego’s rotation, he has done his job. This affordable signing allows the Padres to take a closer look at all of their starting options this spring and have more flexibility. As long as Weaver stays healthy, having a leader who can battle through a start every five days will alleviate pressure from some of the club’s younger starters.