Jeff Weaver’s Back to Being Blue

It took a while, but Jeff Weaver has finally stepped in from the rain.

Yesterday, he rejoined the Dodgers, but not on a Major League deal; oh no, on a minor league deal. The inking is a pyrrhic victory at best for Weaver, who actually did pitch in the Majors last season, and pitched pretty well at that. That the best he could net was an invite to spring training and a chance at maybe making the opening day roster seems a bit odd.

Weaver appeared in 28 games, starting seven of them, and compiling 79 innings and a 4.07 FIP. By my rough napkin calculations, Weaver’s reliever FIP was roughly 3.77, albeit in a lacking sample size. Still, the interest in the 33-year-old was nearly non-existent.

He’s always fended off batters of the same hand with great success. Remember, Weaver has made 274 starts, yet his platoon splits read as such:

RHB: .257/.304/.385 (3,650 PA)
LHB: .295/.359/.501 (4,121 PA)

Over the last three years those splits have still held mostly true, albeit in much smaller sample sizes. Fittingly, Dave Cameron just wrote about platoons and bullpens yesterday, which is something that can be discussed and applied to this signing. Weaver is a ROOGY, or at least, the right-handed version of a lefty specialist. These types can come in handy, since most batters are of similar dexterity and this gives Weaver the perceived edge, but types like Weaver are also the most fungible reliever type around.

The Dodgers already have a pretty fantastic pen, which means Weaver is by no means a safe bet to break camp in the bigs. Even if he starts in Las Vegas, it’s a nice piece of depth to have. After all, the Dodgers had seven relievers last season who made at least 20 appearances and had an above average leverage index, the most of any team ranked in the top 10 of bullpen FIP.

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4 Responses to “Jeff Weaver’s Back to Being Blue”

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  1. Raf says:

    Given his body of work before he joined the Dodgers, and your assessment of his abilities, I don’t think it’s odd that this was the best that Weaver could do.

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  2. Felonius_Monk says:

    Oddly enough, he might’ve been a good fit for the Cardinals in 2010, the team he won the world series with (with a fantastic game 5 pitching performance, to boot). They need someone to sop up maybe a dozen starts or so given their slightly injury-risky starting lineup and the fact Jaime Garcia might not quite be ready to be the 5th starter in April, and they’re weak on the right-side of the bullpen. He’s also reasonable depth as a backup in case Carpenter gets injured again. I think he’d have been a better signing for the league minimum than Rich Hill was.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I agree that Weaver might have been a very good choice for StL. Without overplaying the Dave Duncan influence … given his performance in the 06 WS, it might have been a very comfortable and mutually beneficial relationship. Heck, his success with StL led to an 8M/y contract in SEA, so the opportunity to pitch a lot *may* have been there as a 5th starter, possibly solidifying his standing or even improving it with good pitching.

      I’m not surprised that Weaver is better against RHB’s to such a degree, his arm slot is low and the ball will be difficult to pick up as a RHB. As a LHB, his arm slot results in the ball starting away and moving in, which generally allows for better visibility/recognition. At times, Weaver seemed to be one of those pitchers whose movement was so drastic that is was difficult for him to control, but when he could command his pitches, he was tough to hit. I don;t see many reasons why he couldn’t “Pineiro it” and feature 2-seamers or sinkers down in the zone and have a GB% that would very high.

      I think any advantage Garcia might have as been LH is negated by his fragile history. Weaver is basically a FB pitcher because he catches to much of the zone and up (duh). A sinker, if he could control it, might be a great addition. He throws a slider and considering his arm slot, it’s likely more of a “frisbee” pitch than something that moves down and away quickly with late movement (without looking at pitch movement data). At this stage of career, he’s not going to “learn” to be a control guy, so he needs to be able to pound the zone with pitches that move down and late, “pitching up” isn’t likely to work out well for him … even pitching in LA.

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  3. FireOmar says:

    It’s Taco Time

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