Early this year Jered Weaver made a decision to leave the only team that he had ever known and try to make a fresh start. Weaver signed with the San Diego Padres in January, thus ending his 11 year career with the Los Angeles Angels.
Jered Weaver had many great memories while playing for the Angels in 11 seasons, not so much in his first and only season in San Diego. Weaver burst on the scene in 2006 and immediately made an impact starting out 8-0 and finishing 11-2 that season. It was a bittersweet beginning to a great career as Weaver replaced his older brother Jeff in the Angels rotation, and Jeff was released.
Weaver continued to blossom over the next couple of seasons including going 16-8 with a 3.75 ERA in the magical 2009 season. That season saw the Angels nearly get back to the World Series before falling to the Yankees in a six-game ALCS series.
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After the 2009 season the Angels let veteran right-hander John Lackey go to free agency and Weaver was now not only the staff ace, but it’s leader as well. That was a role Weaver took very seriously as he started to mentor some of the Angels up and coming young pitchers.
Weaver himself started to flourish over the next few seasons. In 2010 despite a mediocre 13-12 record, Weaver led the league in strikeouts with 233. In 2011 his strikeouts were down, but he went 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA and finished second for the Cy Young Award.
However, 2012 was by far Weaver’s signature season as he went 20-5 with a 2.81 ERA and had a 1.018 WHIP which led the league. During that season Weaver had his best moment in his major league career firing a no-hitter on May 2nd against the Minnesota Twins. Weaver again just missed out on the Cy Young Award as he finished third.
In 2013 guys like Garrett Richards, Cam Bedrosian, and Matt Shoemaker made their Angels debut and all have credited him with being very helpful in their first few big league seasons. Weaver had his first major injury that year as well fracturing his non-pitching elbow as he fell off the mound trying to dodge a line drive hit right back at him. Weaver recovered well going 11-8 after missing most of the first two months of the season. However, it would be the sign of things to come.
In 2014 Weaver was back to form going 18-9 and leading the Angels back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Angels were unceremoniously swept out of the playoffs by the Kansas City Royals. Weaver pitched very well in his one game, but got a no-decision.
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Little did Weaver or the Angels know that this would be his last playoff appearance. In 2015 Weaver suffered through an injury plagued season as a nagging hip injury put him on the shelf for nearly two months. Weaver would go 7-12 with a 4.64 ERA both career-worsts. The more alarming thing for Weaver was his loss of velocity as he saw it drop from 89 MPH to 84-85 MPH.
In 2016 Weaver was in the last year of his contract with the Angels and hoped to bounce back, however his velocity did not improve and Weaver suffered through another sub-par season going 12-12 with a 5.01 ERA. Weaver did have a strong late August and September run finishing off the season winning four of his last five decisions posting a 3.67 ERA during that span.
His finest performance came on September 11th against the Texas Rangers when Weaver went 6.2 innings allowing only four hits while striking out eight Rangers for his final victory at the Big “A”. for Weaver it was 149th career victory. He received a standing ovation from the 37,000 + on hand (which I was lucky enough to be one of ).
Weaver would win one more game a week later to finish his Angel career with 150 wins and 93 losses. On the final day of the season Weaver was supposed to pitch, but back soreness kept Angel fans from seeing ol’ #36 take the mound one final time. In the third inning of the game during the mid-inning switch Weaver was honored on the scoreboard for getting his 150th victory and the nearly sold out Angel Stadium got a chance to give him one final curtain call.
After that it was a foregone conclusion that Weaver would not be back in 2017. During the off-season Angels general manager made a statement that the Angels and Weaver would wait and see how things played out for Weaver in free agency and revisit the possibility that he would return to the Angels in 2017 at a later date.
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That day never came as Weaver signed with the Padres in late January ending his tenure in Anaheim with the Angels. Unfortunately his time in San Diego would not be a happy one. Weaver started the 2017 season with the Padres, but it would not go well. Weaver would end up going 0-5 with a 7.44 ERA in nine starts before heading to the disabled list one final time.
Weaver attempted to rehab in the minors in June and July, but he was not good enough to warrant a recall to the majors. So earlier this week Weaver decided it would best for him to hang up his cleats and move on from baseball. Weaver finished with a 150-93 record and a 3.63 ERA with 1621 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP.
It was a very sad day for many in Angel Nation, myself included, hence the title of this article courtesy of a Boyz to Men song I hear from earlier today that has always been one of my favorites. Most of us knew it was coming after the last few seasons. Weaver was a shell of his former self on the mound and was getting by on guts and guile. Weaver was one of the fiercest competitors on the mound, but was one of the nicest and most laid back guys off of it.
I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and cover Weaver’s rehab assignment in 2015 as he made two starts with the Inland Empire 66’ers. Weaver was polite and very congenial after both of his two starts for the 66’ers. The young pitchers said that he was very helpful and approachable while he was there.
Weaver was always willing to help young pitchers even if they were in competition with him. He was great with the fans as well. Finally he was great with a certain Halo Hangout reporter (me) who had never been in a major/minor league locker room to do a post-game interview before. I was nervous as hell, but Weaver was calm enough for the both of us and gave me a great interview. He was also kind enough to pose for a picture with me even though it was against protocol which I would find later.
In closing I would like to say good-bye to an Angel legend in Jered Weaver. You were more than just a great pitcher for the Halos, you were a person of great character as well and you will never be forgotten here in Anaheim, or by me the lowly Halo Hangout reporter that you showed great kindness to on a warm summer’s eve in San Bernardino.