Change In The Weathers

When the Reds announced that they had traded David Weathers to the Brewers for a player to be named later or cash, I saw a few people scratch their heads. After all, Cincinatti just traded for Scott Rolen to bolster their roster for the rest of this year and next year, so why did they turn around and give away a veteran setup man with a 3.32 ERA a week later?

It’s not as confusing as it might look on the surface, however. Weathers just isn’t very good, and the Reds saved themselves just over $1 million in salary for the rest of this year, plus $400,000 they would have had to pay him to go away over the winter.

Despite the shiny ERA, he hasn’t pitched well at all this year, posting a 5.39 FIP. In addition to his usual spotty command and lack of strikeouts, he’s also added a home run problem this year, which completes the replacement level reliever trifecta. The only reason his ERA still makes him look useful is the massively unsustainable .200 batting average on balls in play he has run this year, which the Brewers shouldn’t be counting on going forward. Before you get all “some pitchers can outperform league average BABIP!” on me, Weathers career mark in the category is .309, so I humbly submit that while some pitchers can indeed limit hits on balls in play to some small degree, Weathers isn’t one of them.

In reality, the Brewers just traded for a rather overpriced reputation. At 39, Weathers career is teetering on the brink of being over, but the fact that he’s been good before and had a superficially low ERA made him look attractive enough as a waiver claim, I guess. However, with the team fading out of the NL Central race, it’s a little bit curious why they’d throw even a little bit of money at a guy who isn’t much better than generic Triple-A waiver fodder. The Reds were right to get rid of Weathers – he’s old, not good, and makes more money than he should.

Why the Brewers claimed him is the real head-scratcher.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

10 Responses to “Change In The Weathers”

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  1. Terry says:

    Weathers has been running on fumes for three seasons.

    His career as a Red largely exemplifies the adage that it’s better to be lucky than good…

    BTW, the Reds were paying almost as much for Weathers this season as the Ms were paying their whole bullpen!

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  2. trwi7 says:

    As a Brewers fan, I sadly agree with you, Dave. Melvin just can’t evaluate pitching at all it seems. Adding Weathers. Rumored to be in on Washburn despite circumstances that he wouldn’t have had in Milwaukee (great outfield defense, pitchers park, big time flyball pitcher), that would’ve been a disaster with a now Braun, Cameron, Catalanotto outfield most of the time.

    It seems all he does is look at ERA and decides whether or not he wants a pitcher based on that.

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  3. dragonflyball says:

    I think it has more to do with the fact that the Brewers are running out of guys who can still throw a baseball and Weathers at least has some kind of track record.

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  4. TJ says:

    any word as to who that player to be named later might be?

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  5. BeanoCook says:

    Dave Cameron is going overboard here. Milwaukee needs an arm, they really don’t have any arms at all…..have you been paying attention Dave? Weathers, while not pitching as good as his ERA (this season), is still a guy that has been able to pitch at a high level before and it is worth the chance, he does, over the remaining 50 games, Milwaukee, being in the NL Central, has 2 ways to make the playoffs, they are not dead yet.

    If we followed your advice most of the time, our hypothetical club would fold up shop each June. Boring. You never take a chance.

    Milwaukee has the extra money to take this shot, they have little downside here, since cost is about the only risk, one they can afford. The upside is much greater.

    You need to read up on what it means to take a measured chance on something.

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  6. BJ says:

    They rented a reliable arm for the rest of the season with a little luck on their side. How much are they going to use him? Maybe 15-20 innings? So, they pay a little dough for him or give up a 26 year old AA guy who they’ve given up on… I’ve heard of worse deals.

    This is basically a waiver claim where the Reds held up the deal for some equipment money or a bat boy… I think Weathers is worth a bat boy or a bucket of batting practice balls, honestly.

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  7. CincoBrothers says:

    David Weathers had an ERA almost 6 in his first 7 pro seasons… his career ERA is now 4.24. So he’s doing something right… he’s also played in Milwaukee 2 different times already, and has produced some of his best numbers there.

    The Brewers have NO arms, so why is the fact that they got an aging reliever so absurd? His past 5 seasons haven’t been dominant to say the least, but he’s a respectable middle relief guy whose career started when he was 28 and picked up by MILWAUKEE off waivers.

    Middle relief is one part the numbers nerds don’t get. Mike Stanton wasn’t outstanding. Mike Timlin(at times was) but over, he wasn’t Goose Gossage. Usually teams in denial give up 2 or 3 prospects for a decent pitcher, I don’t see what the Brewers gave up that’s going to cripple them in the future.

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  8. Terry says:

    I think the point is that the brewers desperately need someone who can give them quality relief innings even high leverage ones and the best they can do is Weathers?

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  9. James says:

    If you’re going to criticize a guy’s job performance… you might want to spell his business’ name right while you do it.

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  10. Tim says:

    Hitting on spelling is the same as admitting your argument is too weak to carry the day….

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