Zack Greinke’s new six-year, $147 million contract with the Dodgers got me wondering just how much money Jered Weaver gave up by signing an extension with the Angels rather than hitting the open market alongside Greinke this offseason.
Weaver agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract in August of 2011, which bought out his final season of arbitration eligibility and first four seasons of free agency.
At the time everyone–even Weaver, seemingly–agreed that he had left a considerable amount of money on the table, but his basic point was that staying with the Angels was very important to him and … well, $85 million is still a whole lot of money. Now that Greinke has signed we can get a clearer picture of just how much money Weaver left on that table.
Greinke is 29 years old with a 3.77 ERA in 1,492 career innings, including a 3.83 ERA in 604 innings during the past three seasons. Weaver is 30 years old with a 3.24 ERA in 1,320 career innings, including a 2.73 ERA in 649 innings during the past three seasons.
It seems hard to argue that Weaver isn’t as good as Greinke and there’s certainly an argument to be made that he’s better. And yet Greinke will be getting $147 million over the next six seasons while Weaver will be paid $70 million over the next four seasons. If healthy Weaver will close some of that gap with his next contract that covers Season 6 and Season 7, but it sure looks like he cost himself at least $40-$50 million by not testing free agency.
On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.
The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.