Dodgers Sign Weaver, Other Old Friends

While Peter O'Malley was writing the checks for the Dodgers, they scheduled a number of extremely enjoyable "Old Timers Games" that featured most of the older Dodgers and now and again Hall of Famers from other teams.

One could meet and talk to, for example, Tony Cuccinello, the Dodgers first All-Star (1934), Mickey Owen from the 1941 champions and Van Lingo Mungo, who at one time was thought to be better than Carl Hubbell.

That delightful memory came to mind as the Dodgers gather up many of the older players, hoping to sort through them and find a gem they can keep.

The latest addition is Jeff Weaver, who had his last two good seasons with Los Angeles in 2004 and 2005 when he was 27-24 with a 4.11 ERA in 68 starts while in a Dodger uniform.

Left-hander Shawn Estes and Tanyon Sturtze, who had been announced as having signed made it official and right-handers Ronald Belisario and Charlie Haeger also agreed to terms on minor league deals with invitations to big league camp  

Weaver is a veteran of nine Major League seasons, including two with the Dodgers after being acquired from the Yankees in the Kevin Brown deal. Overall he has a 93-114 record with a 4.72 ERA in 284 games (267 starts) with Detroit (1999-2002), New York Yankees (2002-03), Los Angeles (2004-05), the Angels of Anaheim (2006), St. Louis (2006), and Seattle (2007).  

The California native has appeared in four postseasons, including one World Series in 2006 with St. Louis. He went 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA (4 ER/13.0 IP) in two Fall Classic starts, and was the winning pitcher in the Cardinals' Game 5 clincher over Detroit at Busch Stadium.  In nine postseason appearances (six starts) overall, he is 3-4 with a 4.03 ERA (17 ER/38.0 IP).

?Weaver was a first-round pick of Detroit in the 1998 draft, going 14th overall.  His brother Jered pitches for the Angels.

Weaver, only 32, contacted the Dodgers with the idea of pitching out of the bullpen after taking to the new role while pitching in the Minor Leagues in 2008. He will earn $500,000 if he makes the team.

A free agent in 2008, he served Minor League stints with Milwaukee and Cleveland but did not appear in the Major Leagues. Since leaving the Dodgers, his composite ERA in the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues is 6.00.

Belisario is 27-30 with 20 saves and a 4.00 ERA in 167 minor league games.  The 26-year-old Venezuela native was originally signed by Florida as a non-drafted free agent in August 1999.  

Haeger has pitched in parts of three Major League seasons with the White Sox (2006-07) and Padres (2008), going 1-2 with one save and a 6.35 ERA in 19 games (one start).  The 25-year-old is 46-56 with a 3.92 ERA in 158 minor league games (118 starts).  

Sturtze is a veteran of 12 Major League seasons and 272 big league games (84 starts), going 40-44 with three saves and a 5.19 ERA. The 38-year-old returned to the big league mound with the Dodgers in 2008 after missing nearly the entire 2007 season while recovering from right rotator cuff surgery. He appeared in three games with the Dodgers in August after beginning the year with Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A Las Vegas.

The Dodgers also have spoken to free agents Will Ohman, Dennys Reyes and Jamey Wright who could be used to bolster the bullpen.

2008 and career stats:  

team  w-l  era  gm gs  sv  in   h  bb  so  
AAA   2-4  6.22  9  9  0   55  64  20  37

team  w-l  era  gm gs  sv  in   h  bb  so
AAA   5-2  3.63  8  8  0  45  45  10  29   
SD    2-3  4.74  9  8  0  44  50  18  19   
team  w-l  era  gm gs  sv  in   h  bb  so
AA    4-4  4.74  38  0  9  57  63  25  36     
team  w-l    era  gm  gs sv  in   h  bb so
AAA  10-13  4.45  28  25  0 178 167  77 117
SD    0-0  16.62   4   0  0   4   8   5   4

team   w-l  era   gm gs sv  in   h  bb  so
Jack   1-1  4.70  17  1  0  23  31   6  16
LVegas 1-1  4.13  21  0  5  28  25  12  23
LA     0-0  0.00   3  0  0   2   1   1   1
Just Say No
ESPN's Peter Gammons writes that Scott Boras, who has managed and represented more than a few of the highest paid players in Major League Baseball, has developed his over bearing reputation with his players currently in the league, and many are beginning to wonder if he is painting the wrong image for his clients!

Gammons' says the L.A. scouting department has been told it will not draft Boras clients come June. "If that statement alone does not speak voluble measures, I am not sure what does," he says.

Boras is currently employed by 90 players currently in Major League Baseball.

Kemp to Host Fundraiser
Dodgers' center fielder Matt Kemp will host a Casino Night event in Phoenix on March 14. Kemp's agent, former Dodgers reliever Dave Stewart, will co-host. Matt has a younger brother, Carlton, who is autistic, and Matt has signed on as a celebrity spokesman for TACA, an autism-related charity. This event will feature several other major-league ballplayers -- it comes at a convenient time, with hundreds of players in the area for spring training.

High Odds on Dodgers
One Las Vegas sports book reports that the Yankees are still at 3:1 odds to win the World Series despite the A-Ron steroid whirlwind.

The Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs are both at 7:1; the New York Mets are 8:1 and the Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays are both 10:1  The Phillies are being discounted because a repeat champion hasn't happened since the Yankees in 2000.

The long shot team is the Los Angeles Dodgers at 25:1 odds. If Manny Ramirez ultimately signs with them, as most people think, then those odds are going to drop as the Dodgers can then contend for a title according to the people who set the odds on this sort of thing.  

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