When the Reds announced that they had traded David Weathers to the Brewers for a player to be named later or cash, I saw a few people scratch their heads. After all, Cincinatti just traded for Scott Rolen to bolster their roster for the rest of this year and next year, so why did they turn around and give away a veteran setup man with a 3.32 ERA a week later?
It’s not as confusing as it might look on the surface, however. Weathers just isn’t very good, and the Reds saved themselves just over $1 million in salary for the rest of this year, plus $400,000 they would have had to pay him to go away over the winter.
Despite the shiny ERA, he hasn’t pitched well at all this year, posting a 5.39 FIP. In addition to his usual spotty command and lack of strikeouts, he’s also added a home run problem this year, which completes the replacement level reliever trifecta. The only reason his ERA still makes him look useful is the massively unsustainable .200 batting average on balls in play he has run this year, which the Brewers shouldn’t be counting on going forward. Before you get all “some pitchers can outperform league average BABIP!” on me, Weathers career mark in the category is .309, so I humbly submit that while some pitchers can indeed limit hits on balls in play to some small degree, Weathers isn’t one of them.
In reality, the Brewers just traded for a rather overpriced reputation. At 39, Weathers career is teetering on the brink of being over, but the fact that he’s been good before and had a superficially low ERA made him look attractive enough as a waiver claim, I guess. However, with the team fading out of the NL Central race, it’s a little bit curious why they’d throw even a little bit of money at a guy who isn’t much better than generic Triple-A waiver fodder. The Reds were right to get rid of Weathers – he’s old, not good, and makes more money than he should.
Why the Brewers claimed him is the real head-scratcher.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.