Ken Rosenthal over at FoxSports seemingly made a desperate attempt in his column today to link Jeff Weaver to the Pirates, but everyone in Pirateland knows that will never happen if Pirates General Manager David Littlefield gets his way – or thinks things through.
Or so we all should believe.
It’s hardly a coincidence that Oliver Perez and Bobby Hill, both clients of high-end sports agent Scott Boras, were each traded by Littlefield for a can of cream corn just to run them out of town. Boras represents Weaver so that about wraps this post up anyway until you consider that Littlefield’s trade of Perez last year returned another Boras client, Xavier Nady. You have to wonder how long Nady will remain a Pirate, much less a starter?
Nor is it a coincidence that Littlefield didn’t pick up the contract of Jeromy Burnitz this year, traded Roberto Hernandez last July, or declined to offer a contract in 2006 to Rick White. Hernandez and White called the only two player’s only meetings in the last two years and Burnitz is, well, let’s just say he isn’t known to be the chummiest guy in the clubhouse. As one player on the Pirates 2006 roster so elegantly put it last year: "Bad collection of dudes, man."
Adding Jeff Weaver to the Pirates roster just might mean another curtain call for him together with manager Jim Tracy, but perhaps another clubhouse problem for the Pirates as well, among other issues.
I suppose there are three positive reasons for the Pirates to sign Weaver —
1 — he provides his own mechanical tinkering which will leave Pirates pitching coach Jim Colborn more time to work with the team’s younger arms; and
2 — his WHIP (Walks and Hits allowed per Inning Pitched) hasn’t been as bad as Shawn Chacon’s the last three years. Or, you could look at it this way – since Weaver allows more hits on balls put in play than Shawn Chacon does, perhaps we can continue the development of our defenders? And, yes! Weaver IS better than Chacon in keeping the ball in the park (I’ll wait for you to stop laughing before I continue); and
3 — even more importantly, since Jim Tracy mentioned he really liked Pirates rookie starter Shane Youman, it only makes sense that Weaver or Chacon would start instead. That would allow Youman pine time to learn from the masters or be shipped to AAA to develop. Right? After all, compare the stats for all three pitchers. (Youman has few innings so small sample size alert).
What is really bothersome about the idea of signing Weaver is that he was designated for assignment last July by the Angels after giving up 12 home runs in 32 innings of work pitching at Angel Stadium, despite the fact that park suppresses home runs from left and right-hand batters by about 8%. And guess what, his home runs per nine innings dropped just 0.10 after being traded to the Cardinals last year while his walks issued per nine skyrocketed from 2.13 to 2.81.
How did the Cardinals get Weaver, you ask? They gave the Angels a 47th round draft pick from 2001 – Terry Evans, who had repeated high A-ball so much the team was considering retiring his uniform, and a few dollars.
If Dave Littlefield or Jim Tracy had any interest in Jeff Weaver for 2007, last July would have been the time to pick him up – not now at $8m per year over two.
Honestly, I think Rosenthal was reaching into his garbage pail once again for a story. Don’t get the idea I’m a Rosenthal hater – he typically posts some great stuff. Just lately his articles with the Pirates name attached have been less than believable.