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Jeff Weaver's Value Plunges

My best Angels source indicates that scouts from as many as eight teams were in attendance Tuesday night to watch Jeff Weaver pitch.  Weaver didn't rise to the occasion, taking his tenth loss after allowing six runs in just two innings to the Rockies.

Weaver's been an absolute mess this year, thwarting Scott Boras's attempt to replicate his success with Kevin Millwood.  Boras didn't find the right multiyear deal for Millwood before the 2005 season, so he settled for one year with the Indians.  After Millwood had a career year, Boras got him a massive five-year contract.  Weaver makes $8.3MM this year in a deal that seemed wise at the time.

The 29 year-old righty has given up a ridiculous number of hits this year in conjunction with way too many home runs.  His strikeout and walk rates have remained fairly stable.  Can any of his problems be attributed to team defense and/or bad luck?  Weaver's .332 BABIP exceeds his team's .293 mark, so some of those extra hits could be random. 

Another stat to check out is home runs per flyball.  Ron Shandler's work tells us that "pitchers do not have much control over the percentage of fly balls that turn into home runs."  This figure tends to be about 10%, whereas Weaver is at 16.8% in 2006.  That mark is the 9th worst in the game (browsing this list helps explain the unexpected misfortunes of several fine hurlers this season).  Pitchers do control the number of flyballs they allow overall, and Weaver's 2006 level does not differ dramatically from career norms.

Maybe this is a stretch, but if we substitute Weaver's hit and HR rates with league average levels but hold everything else constant, his expected ERA comes all the way down to 3.84 with a 1.28 WHIP.  That's right about where we expected him to be this season, and it would've been a bargain.  I have to think several teams realize that Weaver has not pitched as badly as it seems.  Acquiring Weaver still makes sense for savvy teams like the Red Sox or Cardinals.

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I'm not as fond of those stats as your average online blog-follower. People have used the BABIP argument for eons to bail out Jeremy Affeldt. Let's just face facts folks - he sucks. The other stat I don't keep up with, but sounds suspect. It sounds like the assumption is being made that all flyball pitchers are equal in that respect. A pitcher *can* control how hard the ball is hit through a variety of factors, and that seem to be ignored here. Last year Johan Santana had a similar G/F ratio as Casey Fossum, but Fossum had the higher HR rate by quite a bit. The same goes for Paul Byrd and Jose Lima. I don't think that's luck and at a glance I don't like those statistics because they assume all contact induced by pitchers is equal.

I'm assuming you have studied all of this as thoroughly as Ron Shandler and Voros McCracken?

It is known that some pitchers exert a small influence over their BABIP, like a Pedro or a Santana. And I don't think any of the pitchers you named combine Santana's control and strikeout rate or are even in the same stratosphere. That is the difference.

"It sounds like the assumption is being made that all flyball pitchers are equal in that respect."

Definitely not. "Flyball pitcher" is very broad; two guys can be flyball pitchers but one can allow many more flyballs overall.

RotoAuth- What do you think the Angels would be asking in return for Jeff Weaver at this point?

I think he makes 8mil this year so he is still due about 4mil. Would they pay most of that remaining salary if you included a B grade prospect?

If so, I think that would be a win-win trade for the Angels and a team like the Cardials, Phils, Reds, Rockies, (Dodgers?), D-Backs, or Padres, or Red Sox.

As long as Escobars elbow holds up they really have no use for Jeff Weaver.

"This figure tends to be about 10%, whereas Weaver is at 16.8% in 2006. That mark is the 9th worst in the game"-Now with that stat why would a team like the Red Sox,Rockies,Reds Phillies and D-Backs would want to have Weaver in there home ball Parks?They are all launching pads except Fenway but that has the Monster-I think the padres cardinals and Dodgers would make the most sense.

Becuse those teams need an extra starter and they dont play all of their games at home.

Have you heard any reports that scouts have noticed any decline in the velocity or movement of Weaver's pitches. Is there any theory regarding a mechanical (delivery)/ injury related problem. I'm astounded he's having such a bad year.

I agree that the asking price should be very low. Picking him up as a #5 for the stretch run seems wise to me. Low risk move. Haven't heard anything relating to an injury, he's been healthy lately.

I just read that the Angels are putting him on waivers. So they will be eating his salary minus the league min. If somebody can get him for a cheap prospect it will be a great gamble.

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