Veteran pitcher uncertain if this is final season with Angels
By Austin Laymance
ANAHEIM -- Jered Weaver had to leave Monday's start against the A's after five innings because of tightness in his lower back, but he's confident he will make his start on Sunday against the Astros in the final game of the regular season. That start could very well be his last in an Angels uniform, as the 11-year veteran is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.
"It's a little weird," Weaver said after the Angels beat the A's, 2-1, in regards to the emotions of the final week of the season. "It's different. Something I've never gone through or dealt with before, not knowing what the future holds and not knowing what is going to happen next year.
"I was telling a couple guys it was a little emotional coming down the tunnel here and I tried to say 'hi' to as many workers and things to that effect as I could. It's a weird feeling. I've been here for 11 years and it's all I've known and it's different, for sure. I'm still concentrated on committing myself to getting out there for that last start and it's how I'm going to look at it from now on."
Weaver has been the most consistent start for the Angels all season. The club is 16-15 in his 31 starts and he's pitched to a 12-12 record with a 5.06 ERA over 178 innings. He leads the team in wins, starts and innings.
The body of work this season makes Weaver think he's made a strong case to return to the Angels in 2017.
"I would think so," he said. "Like I've said before, I'm not throwing the ball the way I would like to. It's been a lot better over the last four or five starts and my body is feeling a lot better, minus the little setback today. It's a decision that I will have to make in the next couple months at least. It will be interesting to sit down with the wife and talk about it and see what's going to happen."
Weaver, who turns 34 on Oct. 4, was asked if it's fair to say he hasn't made a decision about whether he wants to pitch next season.
"I feel like I can," he said. "I feel like my body is responding to what I've been doing over the past really year and a half, two years. I haven't really thought about next season, to tell you the truth. I've just been focused on getting through this one."
A starter for his entire career, Weaver was asked if he would consider a transition to the bullpen.
"I don't know," he said. "I had this conversation with [Troy Tulowitzki] not too long ago when Toronto was in town. I think there's kind of a sense of pride in that I think that I can still be a starter. He was saying that he wants to play shortstop for as long as he can. He doesn't really want to make the move over to third. I think that's just the competitiveness in us.
"I've always been a starter. I've made one relief appearance in my career, and that was a playoff game. I think that if it got to the point where I needed to go to the bullpen, it might leave me in a decision that I would have to make. But for now I still consider myself a starter and that's where my heart is and that's what I've been working towards to get better and prove to people I can still do that."
Weaver said he plans to sit down with reporters this week to discuss his future.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.