Weighing in on Weaver
OK, here’s my take, which I espoused in many fewer words on FSN tonight.
I just don’t see any way this is a bad trade. It may not help, but it can’t hurt.
First, Weaver. He started out the year really badly, there’s no denying that. And his last start was a stinker — though, for what it’s worth, Dave Duncan told me last night that he thought Weaver threw well in that game. But in the six previous games to that, he’d been going very well. A string of games with no more than 3 ER allowed, and in which he went at least six innings in every game but one. That’s pretty encouraging.
With the way this rotation has been going, something had to be done — even if only to save the bullpen. It’s a real concern the way the bullpen has had to eat innings.
Moreover, I think it’s important not to put too much stock in small sample sizes. Over the past two years, Weaver has been a durable, roughly league-average starting pitcher. So you have that on one hand, and then you have about seven or eight weeks at the start of the year that say he’s brutal. When I’m evaluating a guy, I’ll take the two years over the seven or eight weeks every time.
And the same goes for Evans. Before this year, Evans had four full years of pro ball where all he showed was some speed. He hit for a little power but not a lot, hit for a low average, struck out a great deal and didn’t walk much. So you’ve got four years that say he’s a non-prospect, and two and a half months that say he’s something special. It’s possible that he’s figured something out, but I’d say it’s more likely he’s having the hot streak of his career.
Put it this way: if, on April 3, somebody had told you the Cardinals had traded Terry Evans for Jeff Weaver, wouldn’t you think that was a good deal? I would have. And even with those extra three months of context, I don’t believe the balance has changed that much.
Did the Cardinals win the pennant by trading for Jeff Weaver? Of course not. Did they make their rotation better? I think so. Did they do it at a very reasonable cost? Absolutely.
(thanks so much to everybody for all the comments on the two threads from last night, btw)