Padres pitcher Jered Weaver announces retirement after 12 seasons

Big League Stew
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/7708/" data-ylk="slk:Jered Weaver">Jered Weaver</a> is stepping away from baseball. (AP Photo)
Jered Weaver is stepping away from baseball. (AP Photo)

San Diego Padres pitcher Jered Weaver has announced his retirement. The 34-year-old is leaving the game after 12 seasons in the majors, 11 of which came with the Los Angeles Angels.

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Weaver released a statement Wednesday, saying he was stepping away from the game.

“I’ve decided to step away from baseball. While I’ve been working hard to get back on the mound, my body just will not allow me to compete like I want to,” said Weaver. “Many thanks to the Padres organization for the opportunity to play in the amazing city of San Diego. You have been very professional and respectful during this process and I really appreciate that. I would also like to thank my teammates for welcoming me in with open arms and for all the support throughout the season. I’m excited for the next chapter in life and making up for lost time with my family. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years. It was a great ride!”

After putting up strong numbers with the Angels early in his career, injuries and ineffectiveness greatly impacted his numbers in recent seasons. Prior to announcing his retirement, Weaver posted a 7.44 ERA over 42 1/3 innings with the Padres this season.

Weaver’s diminished velocity became such a major talking point in recent years that even the pitcher grew frustrated addressing the issue. Since 2015, Weaver’s average fastball velocity sat at 84 mph, among the lowest in the league.

Because of that, it’s easy to forget how great Weaver was at the beginning of his career.

After being ranked as the No. 57 prospect by Baseball America, Weaver turned in a fantastic debut season for the Angels in 2006. As a 23-year-old, he posted a 2.56 ERA over 123 innings. He finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Over the next eight seasons, he became a mainstay in the Angels’ rotation. Weaver led the league in strikeouts once and games started twice over that stretch. In his first nine years in the majors, Weaver compiled a 3.28 ERA over 1,688 innings. He ranked 12th in pitching fWAR and 13th in innings over that period.

Weaver was also a strong contributor during the postseason. The Angels made the playoffs four times with Weaver. In seven games, including four starts, he posted a 2.60 ERA.

After averaging 90 mph with his fastball early in his career, Weaver started to see his velocity dip to 87 mph in 2013. In 2015, it dropped to 84 mph. His decline was mostly due to injuries. Weaver hit the DL with a hip issue in 2015, but the bigger problem wound up being a bulging disc in his neck.

Weaver told reporters in March of 2016 that doctors told him there was nothing they could do for him. He continued to pitch despite the issue, posting a 5.06 ERA over 178 innings.

After spending his first 11 seasons in Los Angeles, Weaver took a deal with the Padres in 2017. His departure from the team was significant, as Weaver famously signed an extension far under his market value to remain with the Angels in 2011. He signed a five-year, $85 million extension against the advice of agent Scott Boras.

While he may have easily made $100+ on the market, Weaver was happy with his choice at the time, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN.

“If $85 (million) is not enough to take care of my family and other generations of families then I’m pretty stupid, but how much money do you really need in life?” Weaver said Tuesday. “I’ve never played this game for the money. I played it for the love and the competitive part of it. It just so happens that baseball’s going to be taking care of me for the rest of my life.”

In 2,067 1/3 career innings, Weaver posted a 3.63 ERA.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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