Jeff Weaver lowers his earned-run average

It's now 14.32 – well below his salary of $15.80 a minute.
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It's now 14.32 – well below his salary of $15.80 a minute.

All right, let's everybody get off Jeff Weaver's back for just a darned minute. Yes, as of the Thursday, May 10, 7-3 loss to Detroit, the reeling righty is 0-6 this season, with an earned-run average hovering in the range of the vice president's approval rating. But look at it another way: If the Seattle Mariners had just scored an average of 15 runs during each of Weaver's starts, he might actually be 6-0 right now and a cinch to make the all-star team. OK, darned minute's up. A Weaver start such as the extended batting practice he tossed to the Tigers has presented M's partisans little but an opportunity to harbor perverse hope. The best that can be imagined, that is, is that Weaver will fall behind early so that the bullpen can take over and possibly stop the opponent's scoring. Then maybe the M's can crawl back and eventually win, giving team management yet another opportunity to relegate Weaver to the bullpen. His tenure as a starter hadn't ended as I filed this report, though it may occur soon. Weaver started his sixth game by yielding three runs in the first. By the end of four it was 5-0. When he was sent to the showers (or maybe the steam-cleaner) after five, it was 6-2. The six runs were earned on 10 hits. Weaver's odd consolation is that his ERA actually dropped a run to 14.32 as the M's head home for the season's only Safeco Field series against the Yankees. Many imagine that the team's resident Einsteins will advocate handing Cha Seung Baek the ball the next time Weaver is slated to start. Baek threw a complete-game six-hitter at the Tigers Wednesday, May 9. His ERA of 5.40 (about that of the U.S. attorney general's approval rating) doesn't exactly conjure memories of Bob Gibson. But his 1-0 record seems infinitely better than Weaver's 0-6. When Weaver was acquired by genius G.M. Bill Bavasi, a lot of bloggers and other hot-stove-league arbiters around the country said it would be a good deal for the team. Yes, Weaver had been less than stellar during recent years, but he'd excelled during the '06 postseason. Anyway, what's an annual salary of $8.3 million these days? The latter is often posed as a rhetorical question, probably because pro-sports operatives know that fans have become numb to big numbers. For the record, all you working stiffs, here's what our pocket calculator says $8.3 million is: It's $22,740 a day, every day; it's $947 every hour; it's $15.80 a minute - in Weaver's case, a darned minute. Granted, fans don't have any direct ownership of a team. But they wind up paying its expenses in various ways, not least of which is mark-up to cover advertising for goods and services purchased by those who don't even care about baseball. That being the case, virtually every consumer ought to demand accountability when a general manager decides to pay a dubious ballplayer $8.3 million. Instead, fans keep hoping, bloggers keep bitching, and Bill Bavasi keeps his job. So the M's (3-5 for the road trip) lost the Thursday game, stranding 11 base runners, three in the first. Bavasi's solace would be that the team is still 15-15, in eyesight of the division lead. The view of fans as they ride Jeff Weaver's back out to the bullpen: If Bavasi's $8.3 million acquisition had even gone 3-3 the team would be 18-12, and well ahead of the competition.


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