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Angels Reportedly Offer Jered Weaver Nearly $7M


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Friday, February 25, 2005

Angels Reportedly Offer Jered Weaver Nearly $7M

This from the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning:
Weaver update

The Angels are believed to have presented a revised total package of nearly $7 million to sign Jered Weaver, the Long Beach State standout right-hander picked 12th overall in the June 2004 draft. Weaver and agent Scott Boras had been seeking a package with a total value closer to $10 million.

"The door's wide open," general manager Bill Stoneman said. "We're still hopeful."

Chicago Cub Mark Prior received a five-year, $10.5 million deal out of USC in 2002, and Boras has maintained Weaver is similarly major league-ready coming out of college.

But a source indicated the Angels do not want to re-define the parameters of first-round signing bonuses merely to sign Weaver, and they believe the package offered is very fair.
It sounds as if the Angels are unwilling to provide a bonus out of step with the number 12 slot in the 1st round, where Jered was selected. Unless they are willing to provide some other non-bonus compensation to make up for offering only "slot" money, or Jered (and Scott Boras) is willing to sign commensorate with the 12th pick slot, the prospects of signing Jered may be dimming. Since the signing bonuses of the players taken 11th and 13th in the draft were $1.95M and $1.75M respectively, it's impossible to tell from the above how the nearly $7M is structured. IF the Angels have decided to take a hard line position that Jered will be signed as if he were any other 12th pick, they may end up having done their fans and the team a disservice by blowing a 1st round draft pick should Jered decide to re-enter the draft in June. He slipped in the draft because of signability, and they knew when they selected him that it would take more than 12th pick money to sign him.

Update: I missed this slightly earlier article in the L.A. Times this morning:
Weaver Cuts Asking Price
By Mike DiGiovanna, Times Staff Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. - First-round pick Jered Weaver has made a significant concession in an effort to break the stalemate in his negotiations with the Angels, knocking roughly $2.5 million off his asking price.

The offer, made by agent Scott Boras this week, did not yield an agreement but could pave the way for more meaningful talks in coming days and weeks.

The former Long Beach State ace originally sought a signing package in the four-year, $10.5-million range; the Angels were countering with five years at about $6 million. The new asking price is four years, $8 million. If Weaver doesn't sign by June 7, he would reenter the draft, and the Angels would lose their rights to him.

"We're taking a mid-line position in an effort to get a deal done," Boras said Thursday. "We were hoping this would move this thing along."

Weaver, the younger brother of Dodger pitcher Jeff Weaver, was the 12th pick in June's draft after finishing 15-1 with a 1.65 earned-run average, 201 strikeouts and 19 walks in 136 innings last season. He hoped to sign in time for spring training, but the Angels entered their second week of drills Thursday without Weaver.

Many considered the lanky, hard-throwing right-hander the top college pitcher in the draft, but he fell to 12th because several teams picking ahead of the Angels would not meet Weaver's asking price.

Boras says Weaver is at such an advanced stage of development that he belongs in the class of Chicago Cub pitcher Mark Prior, who signed a four-year, $10.5-million deal — a record for an amateur pitcher-out of USC in 2001, and Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira, who signed a four-year, $10.8-million deal out of Georgia Tech in 2001.

"He can do something now that few college pitchers can do - help a major league club," Boras said. According to a source, a team picking behind the Angels in June was willing to give Weaver $10 million, and Boras is believed to be using that as leverage in negotiations with the Angels.

But as Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman noted Thursday, "When you draft a player, there's only one team entitled to make an offer, and that's the team that drafted the player."

Though Stoneman wouldn't discuss negotiations in detail, there is a prevailing sense among team executives that they have made a competitive offer to Weaver, one that would make him the highest-paid player in the draft.

Rice pitcher Jeff Niemann, who signed a five-year, $5.2-million deal with Tampa Bay after being selected fourth, has received the largest signing package. The Angels are also feeling pressure from Major League Baseball to hold down signing bonuses for first-round picks.

"We've been very fair," Stoneman said. "We remain optimistic. The door is not closed."

Boras said Weaver would be willing to sign a minor league or major league contract.

In a major league deal, the Angels could spread out the signing bonus over the life of the contract. In a minor league deal, the signing bonus would essentially be paid up front.

Boras prefers a four-year deal, because if Weaver reaches the major leagues quickly, he would be eligible for arbitration-and the hefty contracts that accompany the process-for one more year than if he were to sign a five-year deal.

"I want fans to know that we don't put a 'near-major-league-ready' label on most guys," Boras said. "That has additional value....We believe this deal would benefit the club. We feel this is a compromise."

The Angels would prefer to evaluate Weaver's major league worthiness on the field, not at the negotiating table.

"It's obvious there's one way to make your way to the big leagues, and that's to compete at the highest level," Stoneman said.

"The players determine by their showing whether they're major-league-ready."
When you put the two articles together, the Angels and Jered may be close to a deal. Time will tell.

posted on 2/25/2005 by Jeff Agnew

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