Friday, July 02, 2004
Boras Licks His Chops
Regardless, the next challenge the team faces is Arte's first draft, and no player is in for longer and more unpleasant negotiations than first-round pick Jered Weaver. Widely thought to be a lock for the Padres, he fell to the Angels after "agent" Scott Boras -- for he is not allowed to negotiate for amateur players, though he can act as an "advisor" -- let slip his vision of a $10M signing bonus for his young charge. Steve Bischeff in the Register thinks Boras has Arte lassoed:
"We made the decision this is the guy we wanted to draft for our team," Moreno said. "He's a local guy, a great player. We're excited about him. I'm real confident we can sign him. I think it's important for us."Indeed, there he goes. Will Jered be worth it? A lot of ink has been spilled over this one. One camp believes he's nothing better than a number three or four pitcher, a guy who reached his potential early. One of those is Baseball America's Jim Callis, who said in a March interview
Moreno paused and smiled.
"There I go putting myself in a box again," he said.
Weaver is very good, but his numbers are so unfathomable that I think he's getting overrated by the general public. I'd project him as more of a No. 2 starter than as a classic No. 1, and he's not the next Mark Prior. Both his fastball and breaking ball are a half-grade or full grade behind where Prior's were when he came out of Southern California. Weaver throws an 88-94 mph fastball with lots of life, but his low three-quarters arm slot has led to debate about how much of weapon his slider will be against big league lefthanders. Weaver's fastball would rate a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale, with his slider and changeup 50 pitches. His command is so good that his stuff plays better than its raw grades.Likewise, ESPN's Jayson Stark laughed at comparisons between Weaver and Mark Prior. So it's not just major league GMs with very real negotiating positions to support who're disparaging Weaver.
Contrariwise, one of Weaver's biggest boosters has been all-baseball.com's Rich Lederer; back on May 23, he wrote a lyric ode to the Dirtbag ace:
I have been impressed not only with Weaver’s power and command but also his makeup. He has the guile, guts, and determination that makes him a special talent. When Jered has his best stuff, he simply dominates Division I hitters. When he isn’t on top of his game, he still finds a way to beat the opponent with a mound presence rare for any pitcher—much less a 21-year-old.Two points of view, radically different. Which one is right? And will this $10M gamble -- assuming it gets that high -- actually pay off? The answer, obviously, is that I don't know, but however it works out, remember one thing: Boras wants his bonus.
Weaver can reach back and rise to the occasion when needed. On Friday night, the youngster who wears the number 36 on his back stranded four Titans at third base, getting out of minor jams with a popup in the first inning, a soft lineout in the second, two strikeouts in the sixth, and three punchouts to end the eighth.
The hard-throwing Weaver has a knack for challenging left-handed hitters inside in a manner that reminds me of a young Frank Tanana, a lefty who could bust a fastball on the hands of right-handed batters as well as anyone I’ve ever seen during his heyday in the 1970s. And to think that Weaver is doing so against hitters with aluminum bats says a lot about his confidence.
And isn’t Moreno’s willingness to draft a guy like Weaver, outrageous bonus demands and all, a sign that he’s still willing to splash the cash? I’m not worried in the slightest.