Weaver Ready to “Prove A Lot of People Wrong”

New Padres starting pitcher thought about retiring before signing in San Diego

For the first nine seasons of his Major League Baseball career Jered Weaver was one of the most effective starting pitchers in baseball. He went to three straight All-Star Games, finishing in the top-5 in Cy Young balloting each season.

During that stretch he was averaging 89-90 miles per hour on his fastball (according to Fangraphs). Then in 2013 that velocity dipped to 86 MPH and his earned run average jumped more than half a run per game.

In 2015 his fastball dropped to an average of 84 MPH and all of a sudden he had lots of problems getting guys out. It got so bad that in the middle of the 2016 season Weaver thought that, at the age of 34, his professional baseball career was over.

“There were times during the year last year when I thought about shutting it down,” said Weaver, meaning he contemplated retirement. But then something he had been working on for a while started to pay off and gave him second thoughts.

“I just really haven’t paid attention to flexibility,” said Weaver. “I’ve always been good at the conditioning part of it but stretching was kind of my kryptonite. I didn’t really enjoy that but as you get older you get a lot more miles on your body. You come to a point where you’ve got to change some stuff up physically. I’ve done that over the course of the last year and a half.”

Weaver’s flexibility training eventually started to pay off, and just in time.

“It’s taken a lot longer than I thought to knock the tightness out but it’s coming along. My last five starts of the season last year I started feeling like my old self and decided to give this another try and here I am with San Diego with an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong.”

His last five starts were indeed better than the bulk of his regular season, good enough to make him want to come back again. The Padres had a need in their starting rotation. They were also looking for a mentor for their crop of younger players. They think Weaver can fill both roles.

“I’m here for whatever they need help with,” said Weaver, who made his MLB debut at the age of 23. “Any knowledge that they need I’m here for them. That’s why I came here.”

Weaver’s Angels made four trips to the post-season while he was there. He is not predicting a playoff run this year in San Diego but sees a lot more potential than most people do.

“There are a lot of people that don’t expect much from us,” said Weaver. “But outsiders aren’t the ones that go out on the field. We’re the only ones that can dictate what we’re going to do so we’re going to work hard here in the spring and try to carry that over in to the season.”

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