Weaver, 29, was a highly-touted prospect as he made his way through the system of the Cardinals, who drafted him in 2014. He showed some potential in his first tastes of the big leagues and eventually became a key piece of the trade that sent Paul Goldschmidt from Arizona to St. Louis. Weaver made 12 good starts in the desert in 2019 but has since been held back by injuries and underperformance.
He was able to make 12 starts in the shortened 2020 season but put up an ERA of 6.58 that year. He was better in 2021 but a shoulder injury limited him to just 13 starts over that full season. This year, the D-Backs tried moving him to the bullpen, which didn’t really work. He registered a 7.71 ERA before getting flipped to the Royals at the deadline. He was slightly better in KC, but still had a 5.59 ERA after the deal.
There wasn’t any public indication the Royals had placed Weaver on waivers, though it appears they had been quietly performing some roster maintenance. Many teams are facing roster crunches soon, as there’s no injured list between the World Series and Spring Training. Since most teams have at least a few players on the 60-day IL, those players will soon have to retake roster spots or else be cut. Weaver is arbitration-eligible and has been projected for a salary of $3MM by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Instead, it seems the Royals have cut him loose and will use his roster spot for other players.
For the Mariners, they are evidently more enamored of Weaver than the Royals. It’s not outlandish to think that Weaver could find better results than what he saw in 2022. His .429 batting average on balls in play and 58.6% strand rate are both much worse than league averages. As such, all advanced metrics thought him deserving of much better than his 6.56 combined ERA between the D-Backs and Royals. Weaver’s 3.64 SIERA, 2.69 FIP and 3.82 xFIP all suggest he was better than he might have seemed, though xERA is a bit more skeptical with a 5.45.
In order to take a chance on Weaver, the M’s are risking losing Hill. The 26-year-old was just claimed off waivers from the Tigers in August, having served as a depth piece for both clubs. However, he is now out of options and unable to be easily sent down to the farm going forward. He got into 31 MLB games this year, all with Detroit, and hit .229/.270/.289 for a wRC+ of 60. In 68 minor league games, he slashed .220/.294/.386, 73 wRC+. Despite that tepid offensive output, Hill might find interest from other clubs given his speed and defensive skills. If he clears waivers, he would be eligible to elect free agency based on having spent parts of seven seasons in the minors.