Jered Weaver’s diminishing fastball velocity is nothing new and the Angels right-hander always insists it’s no big deal, but on Opening Day his fastball averaged 84.3 miles per hour. That’s low, even by his standards:
2010: 89.9 mph
2011: 89.1 mph
2012: 87.8 mph
2013: 86.5 mph
2014: 86.3 mph
2015: 84.3 mph
Usually it’s tough to get too concerned about Weaver’s poor velocity because he’s pitching well, posting a 3.75 ERA or lower every season since 2009 with three top-five finishes in the Cy Young voting. However, at some point you’ve got to think he can’t continue to be effective throwing this slowly.
Last year the only two starting pitchers with an average fastball below 85 miles per hour were a knuckleballer (R.A. Dickey) and a soft-tossing lefty (Mark Buehrle). Weaver is neither and his results on Opening Day weren’t pretty: He allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings against the Mariners, striking out just one of the 25 batters he faced. During the previous three seasons Weaver had just one game in which he faced 20 or more batters and failed to record more than one strikeout.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.