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It's a Real Dream for Weavers

Angels' signing of Jeff creates the possibility that he and Jered could be in the same rotation for first time. Both brothers would love that.

February 17, 2006|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. — It was a humbling, frustrating and bewildering winter for veteran pitcher Jeff Weaver, who entered free agency with visions of a four-year, $45-million contract, was unable to come to terms with the Dodger team he'd hoped to return to and wound up signing a one-year, $8.325-million deal with the Angels on Wednesday.

But as Weaver soaked up the midday sun in Tempe Diablo Stadium after his first workout with his new team Thursday, those off-season troubles seemed to melt away.

"This is a situation where I was happy to take whatever [the contract] ended up to be just to have a chance to win," said Weaver, who finished a four-year, $22-million deal last season.

"I can't preach that enough. I've been on teams that lost 100 games and on a team that won 100 games, and I'd much rather be on the [100-win team]. It sure makes the few dollars you might not earn well worth it in the end."

The Angels have won two straight division titles, they've shown a long-term commitment to winning, they have one of the league's top defenses, and they're run by a manager Weaver has gotten to know over the years and who courted him with several phone calls during the negotiation process.

What's not to like?

But as an added bonus, Weaver, 29, has the chance to be on the same team as his younger brother, 23-year-old Jered Weaver, the Angels' top pitching prospect. In all the years the two have played baseball, they have never been teammates.

"My brother's more excited about that than I expected," said Jeff Weaver, who went 27-24 with a 4.11 earned-run average in 444 innings for the Dodgers over the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

"We had a few talks, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't stepping on his toes. It was good to hear reassurance from him that that wasn't the case. We've become close the last eight or nine years."

Jered Weaver appeared to have a shot at the fifth rotation spot, but with his older brother's signing, the Angel rotation looks set with Bartolo Colon, John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Jeff Weaver and Ervin Santana.

"Jeff wanted to make sure it was cool with me, and I didn't mind at all," Jered Weaver said. "I'm happy for him. We've never been on the same field, on the same team or played against each other our whole life. At least we'll have spring training together."

Jered Weaver, who received a franchise-record $4-million signing bonus last May, wants to position himself so that if an Angel starter goes down with an injury, he'll be the first starter the Angels recall from the minor leagues.

"That would be awesome, to be in the same rotation as him," Jeff Weaver said. "We're six years apart, and we've never come close to being on the same field together. To watch him compete at the highest level would be a dream."

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