Mariners reclaim Luke Weaver, appoint Derek Hill

The Mariners announced that they have claimed the right luke weaver outside the Royals exemptions. gardener Derek Hill he was designated for assignment in a corresponding motion.

The 29-year-old Weaver was a highly touted prospect as he worked his way through the system of the Cardinals, who selected him in the 2014 draft. He showed some potential in his early big league tastes and eventually became a piece key to the trade that sent Paul Goldschmidt from Arizona to St. Louis. Weaver made 12 good starts in the desert in 2019, but has since been slowed by injuries and poor performance.

He was able to make 12 starts in the abbreviated 2020 season, but posted a 6.58 ERA that year. He was better in 2021, but a shoulder injury limited him to just 13 starts that entire season. This year, the D-Backs tried to move him to the bullpen, which really didn’t work out. He posted a 7.71 ERA before being traded to the Royals at the trade deadline. He was a little better in KC, but he still had a 5.59 ERA after the trade.

There was no public indication that the Royals had placed Weaver on waivers, though it appears they had been quietly performing roster maintenance. Many teams will soon be facing roster problems, as there is no injured list between the World Series and Spring Training. Since most teams have at least a few players on the 60-day disabled list, those players will soon have to move back into roster spots or else they’ll be cut. Weaver is arbitration eligible and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz has projected a salary of $3MM. Instead, it appears the Royals have let him loose and will use his roster spot for other players.

For the Mariners, they’re obviously more enamored with Weaver than they are with the Royals. It’s not unreasonable to think that Weaver could find better results than he saw in 2022. His .429 batting average on balls in play and his 58.6% strand rating are far worse than league averages. As such, all advanced metrics thought he deserved much better than his combined 6.56 ERA between the D-Backs and Royals. Weaver’s 3.64 SIERA, 2.69 FIP and 3.82 xFIP suggest he was better than he looked, though xERA is a bit more skeptical at 5.45.

To take a chance on Weaver, the M’s take a chance on losing Hill. The 26-year-old was just claimed off waivers from the Tigers in August, having served as a deep piece for both clubs. However, he now has no options and cannot easily be sent to the farm in the future. He appeared in 31 MLB games this year, all with Detroit, and hit .229/.270/.289 for a wRC+ of 60. In 68 minor league games, he slashed .220/.294/.386, 73wRC+. Despite that lukewarm offensive production, Hill could find interest from other clubs given his speed and defensive skills. If he approves the waivers, he would be eligible to pick up free agency based on having spent parts of seven seasons in the minors.

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