Jered Weaver agrees to five-year, $85-million extension with Angels
The Angels on Sunday reached agreement on a five-year, $85-million contract extension with Jered Weaver, extinguishing fears among the team’s fans that the ace right-hander would leave as a free agent after the 2012 season.
The deal, which will be officially announced Tuesday in a 2 p.m. news conference, reportedly includes a full no-trade clause and will keep Weaver, who was entering his final year of arbitration this winter, in Anaheim through 2016.
The deal, with an average annual value of $17 million, will make Weaver, 28, the highest-paid pitcher in franchise history.
It will be the second-largest contract the team has ever awarded, just under the five-year, $90-million deal outfielder Torii Hunter got before 2008.
Weaver, a two-time All-Star, is 14-6 with an American League-leading 2.10 earned-run average, and he is among the leading candidates for the AL Cy Young Award.
Though Weaver grew up in Simi Valley and pitched at Long Beach State, Angels fans were skeptical Weaver would remain in Anaheim after he became a free agent.
The reasons: Weaver’s agent, Scott Boras, prefers his clients go to free agency, where they can earn maximum dollars, and the relationship between Boras and Angels owner Arte Moreno has been strained since negotiations with free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira broke down before 2009.
There was also a concern that Weaver might have hard feelings toward the Angels after losing last winter’s arbitration case with them and settling for $7.365 million this season.
But Boras has maintained he has no problems dealing with the Angels’ front office, and the Weaver deal is clearly an indication the sides can cooperate for the good of a player and the team.
Weaver, in his sixth big league season, has a 78-45 record with a 3.30 ERA and 937 strikeouts in 1,0841/3 innings. He led the major leagues with 233 strikeouts last season.
His new contract is in line with the five-year, $80-million deal Justin Verlander signed with Detroit and the five-year, $78-million deal Felix Hernandez signed with Seattle before 2010. But both those pitchers signed with two arbitration years remaining.
Weaver’s deal will also be more than the five-year, $82.5-million contract former Angels ace John Lackey signed with Boston before 2010.
The Angels offered Lackey four years and $60 million.
Bourjos powers up
At this rate, Peter Bourjos might be better suited to hit in the middle of the Angels’ lineup than near the top or bottom.
The center fielder hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning Sunday at Angel Stadium during a 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles, giving him homers in three consecutive games.
“I’m not even sure if I had done that in the minor leagues,” Bourjos said.
Bourjos has five homers in his last 18 games after hitting three in his first 96 games.
Known for speed more than power, Bourjos has hit in every position in the order except Nos. 3-4-5. He was in the second spot Sunday for only the third time this season, with switch-hitter Maicer Izturis leading off against left-hander Brian Matusz.
Bourjos went three for five and drove in three runs. He’s hitting .500 during an eight-game hitting streak in which he has seven extra-base hits and seven runs batted in.
Might he one day bat cleanup?
“I don’t see that in my future,” he said.
Downs is down
Reliever Scott Downs was unavailable for a second consecutive game after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring while warming up the previous night.
The Angels could have used the left-hander in the eighth inning Saturday, when the Orioles had the left-handed-hitting Nick Markakis leading off.
Unable to turn to Downs, who has not allowed a run in 20 2/3 innings this season at Angel Stadium, the Angels went with Bobby Cassevah for a second consecutive inning. Cassevah and Jordan Walden gave up two runs to tie the score before the Angels won, 9-8, in 12 innings.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said Downs was not scheduled to undergo any tests and could be available when the Angels open a two-game series Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox.
Back on track
Joel Pineiro called his first start since Aug. 3 a significant step forward, dismissing the numbers attached to his six-inning outing.
The right-hander gave up nine hits and four runs Saturday but was pleased with the movement on his sinker. Pineiro said pitching coach Mike Butcher concurred.
“As soon as I came out of the game, Butch told me, ‘Hey, man, don’t even look at the numbers,’ ” said Pineiro, who had made his three previous appearances out of the bullpen. “ ‘That stuff, it’s completely different. Your ball is going down, it’s sinking. It’s not going side to side. And when you miss, you just hung a slider but it was going in the right direction.’
“It’s definitely a step forward.”
Scioscia said Pineiro would make another start.
Scioscia said Fernando Rodney had “been talked to” after the reliever failed to back up home plate when an errant throw skipped past catcher Hank Conger in the 12th inning Saturday, allowing Baltimore to score an additional run. … Scioscia had planned to start Conger on Sunday but went with Bobby Wilson after Conger caught all 12 innings the previous night. … Torii Hunter was the designated hitter for the second time in three days, with Scioscia saying the move provided a chance “to take some pounding off his legs.” Hunter went 0 for 5, ending his 18-game hitting streak. “I went 0 for 5 today, but we won and gained some ground,” Hunter said, “so it was a great day for me.”
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