TEMPE, Ariz. — The words "free agency" had barely left a reporter's mouth before Jered Weaver shot back.
"I don't give a . . ." Weaver said. "You can quote me on that."
Actually, you can't, at least not in a family newspaper.
Weaver wanted no part of any of the questions — whether he enjoyed a winter without the hassles of free agency, whether he had any second thoughts about his decision to pass up free agency, whether he might have thought differently had he known the Dodgers would emerge from bankruptcy as baseball's biggest ATM.
Weaver would have been a free agent last winter had he not signed a five-year, $85-million extension with the Angels in 2011. He did so against the advice of his agent, Scott Boras, who warned him he would leave millions on the table.
But Weaver, who grew up in Simi Valley and attended Long Beach State, wanted to stay home.
"How much more do you need?" he said when he signed the extension. "Could have got more, whatever. Who cares?"
Turns out that Weaver left about $60 million on the table, given the $147-million contract the Dodgers gave Zack Greinke last winter and the $144 million the Philadelphia Phillies gave Cole Hamels last summer.
Weaver, 30, posted a 51-25 record and 2.73 earned-run average over 6482/3 innings the last three seasons. Hamels, 29, was 43-26 with a 2.97 ERA over 640 innings in that span. Greinke, 29, was 41-25 with a 3.83 ERA over 604 innings.
Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto declined to discuss how much Weaver's hometown discount might have enhanced the team's resources in free agency last winter, when they spent $125 million on outfielder Josh Hamilton and another $26.5 million on pitchers Joe Blanton, Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson.
However, Dipoto said Weaver was one of the elite pitchers in the league.
"He's a Game 1, Game 7 type," Dipoto said. "That is what No. 1s are supposed to be. In Jered, we have that."
Weaver said he has kept in touch with Greinke, who pitched with the Angels last season before cashing in with the Dodgers.
"It's great what they're doing," Weaver said. "But I don't follow the Dodgers as a fan anymore. I'm a fan of the Angels.
"I hope to pitch and stay here for quite a long time."
Weaver's extension was modeled on one the Detroit Tigers gave Justin Verlander one year earlier. Verlander could get $200 million in his next contract, so perhaps Weaver could follow him again.
"I'm not too worried about it," Weaver said with a smile.
If Peter Bourjos hits, center field is his. The Angels gobbled up fly-ball pitchers last winter, salivating at an outfield that would include Mike Trout in left field and Bourjos in center.
In the Angels' Cactus League opener Saturday, Bourjos reached base in both of his plate appearances, drew a throwing error from a catcher worried he might try to steal, and displayed outstanding range in center field.
"He is going to be the primary center fielder," Dipoto said, "provided he maintains his performance."