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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.