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April 18, 2007 at 9:37 AM

Weaver vs. Weaver

Not the greatest of nights for the Weaver clan, who went 0-2.
“I wouldn’t even call it a bad pitch,” Weaver said. “It was a stupid pitch.”
No, that’s not Jeff Weaver describing his slider to Torii Hunter that resulted in a fifth-inning grand slam at Safeco Field. More like younger brother, Jered, discussing the three-run homer hit off him by Bobby Crosby of the Oakland A’s in last night’s fourth inning. Now, we know that one of the Weaver boys will see their team win next Sunday, since they are on pace to match up against each other.
As we mentioned yesterday, they would be the eighth brother combo to do that. Only thing that could thwart the matchup is if the Angels decide to alter their rotation in light of an off-day on Thursday. No one is saying they’ll do that. But stranger things have happened. If not, there will be a lot of pressure on Jeff Weaver to put it together for an entire game.
Weaver, as noted last night, did do some things right. His manager, Mike Hargrove, felt the same way and that’s why Weaver will keep taking his regular rotation turn. That’s not an issue this week, since there are no off-days in which a starter could be skipped. But Weaver, more aggressive or not, has to stop giving up extra-base hits.
His slugging percentage against? Uh, .846. No, that’s not very pretty. Neither is the .436 opposition batting average or .455 on-base percentage. Something will have to change. A reader asked me about why the Mariners would want to spend $8.3 million on a fifth starter when they have Cha-Seung Baek in the minors. First off, it’s not my money, so I don’t care what the M’s spent, so long as they don’t use it as an excuse later on to say that their budget is too tight to afford to add players in-season.
From what I saw, and my vantage point is limited, the market for Weaver didn’t go much beyond $5-$6 million. The Mariners wanted their man and they got him. Was he always their man? It sure didn’t appear that way. I can see the logic in wanting a rotation that — if all goes well — has five guys with a proven track record of reaching double-digit win totals. There is no guarantee that Baek could have managed that. He is still unproven.
From a money perspective, if the Mariners were one of those alleged Moneyball teams from a couple of years back that claimed they couldn’t exceed a $50-million budget, this would be a very stupid signing. For a team like the Mariners, though, with $100 million and more to throw around, a license to print money at Safeco Field, and a mediocre rotation after Felix Hernandez, taking a one-year risk on Weaver wasn’t all that bad a move.
The only thing that will make it really bad, in my view, is if Weaver continues to struggle for another couple of starts and the team keeps running him out there every fifth day instead of skipping him for Hernandez on occasion.
Otherwise, it’s a sunk cost for a team that knows all about those.
The good news? Hey, they have Hernandez going tonight. Against Carlos Silva. When was the last time, two starts in, you had a starter with an 0.00 ERA taking on another with a 0.77 ERA. Should be interesting. I wonder if Jose Guillen will be in the lineup. His hand was wrapped in a bandage last night after being hit by a Ramon Ortiz pitch in the first inning. Guillen stayed in the game, but injuries have a habit of swelling up overnight. We’ll see later on today.
By the way, Hargrove may have just been bumped off those “First Manager to be Fired” lists by this guy. When you go after the radio guy, you know things are getting really desperate.

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