There are several different angles to which one could take when attempting to evaluate the extension bonanza that took place around professional sports prior to the weekend. One might wonder if a player is worth the sort of money that the likes of Justin Verlander was handed. One might wonder when their team might have a player of that caliber and looks forward to the day that their team could pay that player an obscene amount of money.
But especially, one has the opportunity to look at that deal and let out a bit of a chuckle. For their team already has a player of that caliber. Only it didn't cost them over $200 million to keep that player around. That's what the Los Angeles Angels have in Jered Weaver, whose contract suddenly looks like a terrific deal with the money handed to Verlander, and the rumored $200 million+ that Clayton Kershaw could see in the very near future.
Back in August of 2011, the Angels signed Weaver to a five-year extension, worth $85 million. That deal keeps him in Anaheim through 2016, and actually makes him one of the better bargains in the league, considering that he's a top tier hurler.
Weaver is a true ace. He's a perennial Cy Young contender. He's been an All Star the past three seasons, including starting the Midsummer Classic in 2011, just over a month before he went on to sign that extension. His numbers aren't actually too far off from the likes of Verlander or Kershaw. The comparison between Weaver and those two makes his contract look simply brilliant.
Looking specifically at last season's numbers, each of the trio made at least 30 starts. Weaver posted a 2.81 ERA and an absurd 1.018 WHIP. He surrendered only seven hits per nine innings and walked only two per nine. Though his strikeouts aren't quite up there with the other two (142 in 188.2 IP), almost every single statistic is an extremely favorable comparison. He's finished directly behind Verlander in Cy Young voting in each of the last two years, in case you needed a little extra convincing.
Though there wasn't too much to be impressed about with his track record as general manager, it's pretty clear that Tony Reagins did something right when he extended Weaver back in 2011. The extension, along with the hometown discount that Weaver so generously provided, now looks like an unbelievable bargain for an elite pitcher. You don't find that collection of words in the same sentence too often these days.