The St. Louis Cardinals once acquired reigning National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt in exchange for Luke Weaver, among others. Weaver once ranked among the Top 100 prospects in all of baseball, too, and will forever have the pedigree of being a former 1st round draft pick on his ledger, too.
At times, there has been much to like about Weaver, 29, who was signed by the Cincinnati Reds to a real, live, big-league contract today.
The Reds today signed RHP Luke Weaver to a 1-year contract for the 2023 season.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) January 13, 2023
Welcome to Reds Country, Luke❗️ pic.twitter.com/Na4b9ScQ2V
Whether or not any of those times remain will be the question.
Weaver stumbled to a 6.56 ERA during the 2022 season while with both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals, doing so in 35.2 IP across 26 games, all but one of which came in a relief role. It was the first such season in which he’d been used almost exclusively as a reliever, having appeared as a starter in each and every big league appearance during the previous trio of seasons as a Diamondback.
Of course, that most recent ERA could well be quite misleading. He pitched to a sparkling 2.69 FIP over those 2022 IP and sported a rock-solid 9.6 K/9 against a feasible 3.3 BB/9 - and, perhaps just as importantly, only served up a lone homer on the entire season. His overall ERA was mostly obliterated by a brief June spell in which he was shelled for 9 ER in just 3.2 IP in his one and only start of the season, and was tagged for 2 ER in 1 IP in a relief appearance just a couple of days later.
If you take things back all the way to the start of the 2019 season, Weaver has pitched to a fine 3.80 FIP across 217.2 IP - mostly as a starter - and certainly looks capable of being the innings-eater the Reds will need to help round out their otherwise young, inexperienced rotation. Or, if everything else breaks perfectly, he could be a long-man on the roster, too.
MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that Weaver will receive a $2 million base salary for the season. Veteran utilitydude Matt Reynolds was designated for assignment to free up the roster spot for Weaver.
Welcome to the Reds, Luke. Here’s to hoping your ERA this season begins to more appropriately track with your peripherals!