Desperate Cardinals Turn To Weaver

Slumping but still clinging to the lead in the National League Central, but the Cardinals will need some pitching reinforcements if they’re going to hang on and make the playoffs. St. Louis took a gamble on Wednesday, acquiring the ineffective Jeff Weaver from the Angels for Double-A outfielder Terry Evans.

Los Angeles, which had designated Weaver for assignment, will pick up much of the remainder of his $8.325 million salary for 2006.

Weaver, a 29-year-old righthander, signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Angels in the offseason. But he lost his spot in the Los Angeles rotation to his brother Jered after going 3-10, 6.29 in 16 starts. While batters roughed him up for a .309 average and 18 homers, he did post a 62-21 K-BB ratio in 89 innings. He’s mainly a sinker-slider pitcher who deceives hitters with his slinging delivery. He still has solid velocity on his fastball, but his stuff has flattened out and at times he has relied too much on his breaking stuff (he also throws a curveball). Nevertheless, Weaver will move right into a Cardinals rotation that has posted an 8.30 ERA over its last 15 starts. He’ll become a free agent again at the end of the season. He has a career big league record of 81-97, 4.55 in 242 games.

Evans, 24, was drafted in the 47th round in 2001 and signed as a draft-and-follow out of Middle Georgia JC in 2002. He had little success in his first four pro seasons, batting .239/.303/.394 with 40 homers in 398 games, but he’s in the midst of a career year. In 81 games between high Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield, he has hit .301/.372/.572 with 22 homers (one off the minor league lead), 65 RBIs and 26 steals. He has fanned 71 times and still isn’t considered a full-fledged prospect, but he’s athletic and has some power and speed.

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