2015 was a tough season for Jered Weaver. The Los Angeles Angels' veteran right-hander, once the ace of the staff, dealt with injuries and a significant drop in velocity as he finished the campaign 7-12 with a 4.64 ERA, by far his least effective season for the Halos in terms of those two stats in his 10-year career.
And yet, he's just 33 years old - too young, possibly, to assume he's nearing the end of his tenure as an MLB pitcher. So what does he have to do to return to form next season?
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MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez wrote about Weaver's offseason ahead, in which he'll attempt to find answers for a very tough 2015. Gonzalez notes that Weaver's 5.1 K/9 ratio this season was a career-low and he allowed 29 home runs in 159 innings of work. Clearly, things weren't going very well for much of the season, something Weaver conveyed to Gonzalez:
"It was a frustrating year, obviously," Weaver said. "I've never had a season like this, ever. Obviously, I want to try to improve on it, but who knows how many years I have left. We'll see what happens."
If he's able to figure out how to remain consistent on the mound with the altered repertoire that goes along with a fastball that now registers in the low '80s, he'll have to continue deceiving batters with his mix of pitches. Recently-fired pitching coach Mike Butcher, who worked with Weaver throughout his career in Anaheim, was quoted by Gonzalez as still believing in the veteran's ability to stay a fixture in the Halos' rotation:
"There isn't another right-hander in the game that can throw the way he does and win," Butcher said. "There isn't one. Not one guy. And he does it. Weave knows what's in front of him. He knows what he has to do to put the work in. Hopefully you see a good Jered Weaver next year, where he feels good about where he's at physically. Mentally, you're going to see the same guy -- strong-willed, competitor and a winner."
If he doesn't turn things around next year, who knows how long Weaver will allow himself to struggle at the big-league level. Heading into the offseason, this is definitely something to watch regarding the Angels as they manage their prospects for next season and beyond.