The Padres knew this wasn’t going to be their year and barely have anything invested in the team, shown by the fact that 21 players on their active roster make less than $1 million. For teams in the middle of a rebuild like San Diego, signing a veteran for a cheap, short-term deal is a smart idea since it gives them a trade chip come July, which is what the Padres thought they were getting in former All-Star pitcher Jered Weaver. Unfortunately, Weaver has been a disaster and the Padres are better off cutting bait.
Over the past three years, Weaver’s fastball velocity has dropped significantly. In his prime, Weaver’s heater settled in the low 90s. Today, it averages at 83.55, which is a key reason why Weaver has surrendered a MLB-worst 14 home runs this season. San Diego is 0-7 in games started by Weaver and he has surrendered at least one home run in each start and multiple long balls in six of his seven starts.
Even if he struggled, the Padres hoped that they could rely on Weaver to eat innings, but he’s failing to even do that now, lasting just seven innings total over his last two starts. His ERA in those two appearances is 15.43, skyrocketing a below-average 4.71 ERA to an dreadful 6.81.
It’s not even just the long ball that is killing Weaver. Opposing batters own a slash line of .283/.331/.628 against him. The slugging percentage against him is the worst in baseball by a large margin, with Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson’s .586 slugging percentage against coming in next.
At 13-21, the Padres are in bad shape and don’t look ready to contend anytime soon. At age 34, Weaver is not going to be in San Diego’s long-term plans. Jarred Cossart is expected to be activated from the disabled list today and while the Padres plan was to keep him in the bullpen, they may be better served having him replace Weaver in the rotation. If Cossart does in fact take Weaver’s start on Sunday, San Diego could consider trying out Weaver in the bullpen to see if he can salvage any value whatsoever.
Another option could be calling up one of their prospects. Dinelson Lamet has pitched well for Triple A El Paso, owning a 2.48 ERA and striking out 38 batters across six starts. Unlike moving Cossart to the rotation, however, calling up Lamet would require a corresponding move, which would likely be releasing Weaver.
Redgardless of what they decide,the outlook is bleak for the 34-year-old Weaver whose arm looks like it has died on him.