Jered Weaver May Not Pitch For The Angels Again, But His Career Is Not Over

Instead of starting on Sunday, Jered Weaver will watch, and become a free agent when the last pitch is thrown.

ANAHEIM -- Though the Angels had been eliminated from playoff contention many weeks prior, Sunday's affair against the Houston Astros was set to be a kind-hearted match from the stands.

Fans would come in the masses. Many would wear replica uniforms, with the #36 on the back. They would come to see one of the franchises grandest pitchers take the mound once again at Angel Stadium.

It won't happen.

"It hurts me to say that I won't be able to make that start," said Jered Weaver. "The fans have been so supportive of me, and showed their love over the years. It's kind of a bummer I had to walk off the mound with a nagging back and not be able to make it up for the last one. It'll be fun to sit back and watch and root the guys on and see what happens."

Jered Weaver, unarguably one of the best to wear an Angels uniform, may have seen his final days in doing just that.

On Tuesday, Weaver will turn 34-years-old, and on Sunday afternoon, he'll become a free agent for the first time in his career.

"I know the fans and everyone would like to see him pitch tomorrow," said Angels' manager, Mike Scioscia.

The only manager that Weaver has ever played, opted to send Jhoulys Chacin to the mound on Sunday for the season's finale. Weaver felt it was in the manager's choice towards best interest in his player, while making the decision.

"Me and him are kind of the same," said Weaver. "We don't like the light on us. We don't like to think this is the last go-around, blah, blah. I think he knows that I want to go out there, but he's also looking out for my well-being. That's something he's always been good about is not forcing the issue and looking out for your well being."

The second-winning-est pitcher to wear an Angel uniform, may never be able to have that opportunity again.

"The Angels have been an amazing organization to play with for 11 years, and I would love to stay here," said Weaver. "I've never been in this position to even experience free agency before, but my options are open. I don't even know if the Angels want to take a shot at having me back, or any of that."

In what was Weaver's worst season, statistically, he was able to compete despite having a large dip in his fastball velocity. The average fastball velocity of 84.0 is the lowest in over four years for any Major Leaguer, but will not lure Weaver to ending his baseball career.

"I'm definitely not going to retire," Weaver said before Saturday's game. "My body has been responding, everything is starting to get to where I know it can be and now that I can kind of have an answer for what I need to do."

The question with Weaver is whether he'll be offered a job or not, but he feels he's capable, and so does his manager.

"There have been very few guys who have taken that mound at Angel Stadium with the same competitive fire as Jered," said Scioscia. "That's been fun to watch."

"It's obviously motivational when people tell you that you can't do things, and I've always taken that as motivation," said Weaver. "There's a lot of people who didn't even think I could make it through the season. I ended up not pitching not my best baseball but thought I did pretty good down the stretch. For the most part, was able to keep the team in the game."

In the months and coming, and all throughout the off-season, Weaver will have many conversations with his agent, family, and particularly, his wife, regarding the future. However, that won't come immediately.

I'll probably take a couple weeks off, veg out with the family, and realize that there's something other than baseball out there I have to take care of (laughs), and that's two kids. It'll be nice to unwind a little bit and enjoy some family time."

Free agency. A new trend in the Weaver household. The luring items that will standout for the Weaver camp will come in the form of a starting spot, and a chance to win.

"I'm to the point in my career where a ring is and always has been first and foremost for me. To win a championship. That's all I've played for. Obviously a contending team would be first and foremost, but it's something I'll have to sit down with my wife and talk about. We kind of talked about it and she was game with wherever I want to go. She was definitely going to go along with it."

There's no guarantee that the Angels will not offer Weaver a chance to return. There's no guarantee anyone will offer Weaver another chance to pitch. Regardless, one of Southern California's greats, from start-to-finish, is ready for whatever baseball has in store for him.

"It's definitely not my last 'hoorah.' I think if I put the work in and keep with what I've been sticking to as far as stretching and trying to get the strength back, my body should respond well. I want to pitch as long as I can as long as someone is going to give me a jersey. I think I have some years left."


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