Last night while I was reading my wife came from the computer and told me that the Dodgers had signed Jeff Weaver to a one year contract worth 5 million dollars.
I didn't believe it, not even for a second.
We discussed after what number would have worked better. She wanted to tell me of a contract that would outrage me, but 5 million dollars was just too high, especially considering a previous conversation we had where we wondered if Weaver had even pitched last year. ( He did, but only in the minor leagues. ) The details of the real contract suggested indifference more than outrage. Half a million if he makes the team as a reliever; no incentives.
She had rejected the idea of making his fake contract a multi-year one; that would just be unbelievable when a guy like Randy Wolf gets only a one year deal. We decided that a guaranteed one year deal for two million where he would compete for a starting spot would have been the best play, which would have been not much of a play at all. I might be gullible ( or pessimistic ) enough to believe that Ned Colletti would sign Weaver for two million, but I'm not yet crazy enough to get too upset about a two million deal for anyone. I think the lesson in all this is that it's hard to build a good contract prank around Jeff Weaver.
After the failed prank we agreed that Weaver is this year's Chan Ho Park. Then we tried to remember who is this year's Sele/Erikson. We couldn't remember. ( Turns out it's Shawn Estes, ex-Giant. ) We also reasoned that Randy Wolf is this year's Randy Wolf. Wolf doesn't have a hard act to follow.
The last time I believed a prank story about a free agent contract was when my mother told me in the 1988 off-season that Orel Hershiser had signed a contract. I was thirteen years old then, and he had been my favorite player since 1985, so I was overjoyed to hear this, and I just as I started to express my verbal relief, she says, as it was the most natural truth in the world, "the contract is with the Milwaukee Brewers."