Baseball players are pressured to take the biggest contract offered when free agency comes around. It's good for business, and taking less than market value isn't a virtue among their brethren in the players' union.
But let's hear it for Jered Weaver. Like Cliff Lee last winter in Philadelphia, Weaver took less money to go to the place where he wanted to live and work, and for him that was staying with the Angels. His career arc suggested he could have had a monstrous deal after next season, but instead left some money on the table for the security of a long deal. It's still the biggest deal for a pitcher in Angels history, by the way.
"How much more do you need?" Weaver said during a news conference on Tuesday announcing his five-year, $85 million contract. "Could have got more, whatever. Who cares? If $85 million is not enough to take care of my family and generations to come, then I'm pretty stupid."
In the audience at the news conference was Chuck Finley, another former Angels ace who had to leave in free agency when the Angels didn't pay him market value. He wishes he had found a way to stay. Said Finley, to the Orange County Register:
"Maybe [Weaver] could have got $30 million more (in free agency), but he said he's happy here and wants to stay here. A lot of people have said it's not about the money, but he means it. And he stood up to his agent (Scott Boras) to get it done, even though he was probably advised to wait and test the market. You don't see that very often anymore."
Weaver probably won't win the Cy Young Award this year, but my guess is Angels fans wouldn't trade him for Justin Verlander or anybody else right now.