PEORIA, Ariz. — Jered Weaver is set to join a wide-open rotation mix in San Diego, as the veteran right-hander agreed to a one-year contract with the Padres on Saturday.
The club has not officially confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical and reportedly worth $3 million.
The 34-year-old Weaver, who posted a 3.55 ERA in 11 seasons with the Angels, will likely slot toward the top of the Padres’ starting rotation. He’ll also serve as a veteran presence in one of baseball’s youngest clubhouses.
“He’s always been a winner, his entire career,” said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. “[He] has been there, been in the postseason. I think from that standpoint, he brings a lot to our team and some of the other pitchers that are in that locker room.”
The Padres’ current rotation candidates number into double figures. Weaver’s place in the starting rotation isn’t quite guaranteed. But Preller noted, “When you sign Jered, you sign him with the idea that he’s going to pitch in the rotation.”
Weaver joins Jhoulys Chacin and Clayton Richard as rotation favorites, which seemingly leaves two spots open for about seven starting candidates.
“It’s going to be a work in progress all spring,” Preller said. “Hopefully we get to the end of spring and there’s a surplus and there’s a lot of guys who have a chance to pitch in the rotation for us. We definitely are trying to get some numbers and some depth.”
Weaver struggled for the Angels last season, posting a 5.06 ERA in 31 starts. The Padres are hoping for a bounceback year in 2017, despite Weaver’s declining fastball velocity. Weaver’s fastball sat in the mid-80s last season — though he used the pitch only about a third of the time.
In his 11-year career, Weaver has been named to three All-Star teams and finished in the top five of Cy Young Award voting three times as well. He led the American League in victories in 2012 and ’14 and has averaged 30 starts a season.
“The idea behind the signing was somebody who can log innings, somebody who still has a lot to prove and wants to pitch,” Preller said. “He’s always been successful.”
Saturday marked the first full-squad workout for the Padres. But — even after Weaver joins the club — Preller said he isn’t necessarily done adding to the group.
He may be done looking for veteran rotation pieces, however. With Richard, Trevor Cahill and now Weaver, the Padres have a trio of veteran pitchers to help lead an otherwise young staff.
“We’re not necessarily bringing guys in like Jered to mentor people,” said pitching coach Darren Balsley. “We think he can pitch and pitch well for us. But it doesn’t hurt when you have young kids watching and seeing how he competes and what he does in his side sessions and stuff like that. Obviously, guys that have made it as far as he has, they do things right.”
When the deal becomes official, the Padres will need to clear room for Weaver on a full 40-man roster.
By AJ Cassavell