02/09/09 8:44 PM EST
Dodgers sign Weaver to Minors deal
Former starter approached team about vying for spot in bullpen
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Right-hander Jeff Weaver, who won 27 games while making 68 starts for the Dodgers from 2004-05, signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, which opens Saturday at the club's new Camelback Ranch-Glendale facility in Arizona.
Weaver, 32, contacted the Dodgers with the idea of pitching out of the bullpen after taking to the new role while pitching in the Minor Leagues in 2008.
He will earn $500,000 if he makes the team.
Weaver, who was acquired by the Dodgers from the Yankees in the Kevin Brown trade, sought a rich deal after the 2005 season that wasn't forthcoming from the Dodgers after pitching 224 innings but found his market limited and signed a one-year deal with the Angels in mid-February 2006.
By the end of that June, a 3-10 Weaver was designated for assignment and traded to St. Louis, where he turned his game around and pitched the World Series clincher. Despite the resurgence, Weaver was allowed to leave by the Cardinals and signed a contract in 2007 with Seattle, but he had shoulder problems and finished 7-13.
A free agent again in 2008, he served Minor League stints with Milwaukee and Cleveland but did not appear in the Major Leagues. Since leaving the Dodgers, his composite ERA in the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues is 6.00.
Relievers expected to be in the Dodgers bullpen this year are Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Cory Wade, James McDonald, Guillermo Mota and Scott Elbert. The Dodgers also have spoken to free agents Will Ohman, Dennys Reyes and Jamey Wright.
The club also announced it agreed to terms with left-hander Shawn Estes and right-handers Ronald Belisario, Charlie Haeger and Tanyon Sturtze on Minor League deals with invitations to big league camp.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.