Baseball BeatAugust 06, 2004
Weaver and Stoneman Unable to Say "Halo"
By Rich Lederer

Jered Weaver and the Angels are "nowhere close to an agreement" according to Doug Miller, a reporter for (Thanks to Darren Viola, aka Repoz, for pointing me toward this story.)

Miller quotes Angels General Manager Bill Stoneman, "I don't think it's going normally, no. I'm not sure exactly what we expected, but we were hoping to have a negotiation here and it's not really happening."

Not surprisingly, Scott Boras is believed to be asking for a deal similar to the five-year, $10.5 million contract Mark Prior signed with the Chicago Cubs in August 2001. Boras is well-known in baseball circles as a tough negotiator. He is a highly controversial figure who some say gets the most for his clients while others argue that his mere presence reduces the "signability" of those he represents.

Call Boras what you want but don't call him impatient. Like an owner looking to sell a prime piece of real estate, I have no doubt he will wait until he gets close to his asking price.

If Weaver hired you to represent him, what would you ask for? Well, if it were me, I would insist on Prior type money. Why not?

Weaver vs. Prior

             IP    H   R   ER   BB     K    W-L
Weaver    144.0   81  31   26   21   213   15-1
Prior     138.2  100  32   26   18   202   15-1
             H/9    BB/9    K/9    K/BB     ERA
Weaver       5.1     1.3   13.3    10.1    1.62
Prior        6.5     1.2   13.1    11.2    1.69

Given the fact that Weaver's stats for his junior season were arguably better than Prior's, I guess it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask for more money. But, what the heck, I'm not greedy. Gosh, I might even allow the Angels to get the best of me and settle for a nice round number like $10 million--or $500,000 less than what Prior received.

Granted, the Angels will undoubtedly point out that Weaver slipped to the 12th pick in this year's draft whereas Prior was chosen second. Yes, that's true. However, I would remind Messrs. Moreno and Stoneman that Weaver may have gone as high as number one if money wasn't a factor. Like the Padres and ten other teams before them, the Halos should have passed on Weaver if they weren't willing to pay the freight.

I'm not surprised at what has taken place thus far. As a matter of fact, I wrote the following on the day of the draft:

Although I don't think he will get more than what Prior received, I believe the College Player of the Year could still end up getting the biggest contract of all the draftees despite being taken 12th.

Despite the current stalemate, I'm not wavering in my belief one bit. Weaver may not get $10 million but, when it's all said and done, he will ink the richest pact of any draftee. Boras knows it. Weaver knows it. And the Angels know it.

In the meantime, I don't think either side is in any hurry to get married. It's highly unlikely that Weaver will pitch this season, which is probably best for everyone anyway. As a result, it really doesn't matter whether they agree on a contract this month, next month, or the following month.

Prior signed in late August, reported to spring training in February, broke camp with the club's Double-A entry in West Tennessee, was promoted to Triple-A Iowa, and made his major league debut on May 22--striking out 10 Pirates in a six-inning, four-hit, two-run victory.

Only time will tell whether Weaver is placed on a similar fast track. If all goes well, I think it is possible that he could get a shot in the bigs sometime next year. But first things first.