|Tuesday, January 22
Weaver's deal with Tigers worth $22 million
DETROIT -- Optimistic about the Detroit Tigers' future,
right-hander Jeff Weaver agreed Tuesday to a $22 million, four-year
Weaver, 13-16 with a 4.08 earned-run average last year, gets $2.4 million this year, $4.1 million in 2003, $6.25 million in 2004 and $9.25 million in 2005. He had agreed Friday to a $2.35 million, one-year deal.
"In my mind, Jeff is one of the best young pitchers in the game," Tigers general manager Randy Smith said. "He's a guy that's gotten better every single year and I think will continue to improve as we go forward."
Contract discussions began around Christmas and the long-term package was finalized after Weaver returned from a positive experience at the team's minicamp last week at Lakeland, Fla.
"We had position players in there along with the pitchers, which I think was a lot better than just having the pitchers down there," Weaver said. "We were able to meet the new players and go out and have some fun with each other and start this season on the right foot."
Weaver publicly clashed with his teammates and manager Phil Garner several times last year, often chastising the team for a lack of run support. He said if the minicamp was any indication, the team will be happier this season.
"It's just the fact that some of those players that might have been dragging us down are gone," Weaver said.
Detroit allowed the Boston Red Sox to claim All-Star first baseman Tony Clark off waivers and let go shortstop Deivi Cruz and outfielder Roger Cedeno. Outfielder Juan Encarnacion was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for first baseman Dmitri Young.
The Tigers also signed pitchers Danny Patterson and Steve Sparks to multiyear deals and brought in free agent infielder Craig Paquette.
Weaver, 25, would have been eligible for free agency after the 2004 season. Remaining with Detroit is what he wanted.
"Jeff Weaver gets to be the opening-day starter. Jeff Weaver gets to advance and gets the platform of being matched up against No. 1 pitchers in this environment," said his agent, Scott Boras. "That's a tremendous experience for him. You can't get that from another team. So, where this franchise is, what Jeff Weaver needs, it really was a fit for us."
Weaver, a first-round draft pick in 1998, had career bests last season in wins, complete games (five) and strikeouts (152). In three major league seasons, he has a 33-43 record with a 4.57 ERA and 92 starts.