Former Illini pitcher Ty Weber signs with San Francisco Giants as undrafted free agent

Senior+Ty+Weber+steps+into+a+pitch+during+competition.

Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Senior Ty Weber steps into a pitch during competition.

By Rich Eberwein, Staff Writer

Former Illinois pitcher Ty Weber received a phone call from the San Francisco Giants on Sunday with a free agent contract offer. After months of wondering what the future would hold and whether or not he would be returning to Illinois for an extra season, Weber talked it over with his parents and, after some hugging and congratulations from the family, signed with the Giants organization as an undrafted free agent.

Following the season’s cancellation in March, Weber decided to work on staying healthy, taking advantage of some weightlifting equipment he had at home and playing catch with his dad five days a week.

“After I came home from school, I knew there was a chance I could be signed so I just kept up with all baseball things,” said Weber about the last few months. “Just because there wasn’t a lot of interest because the draft was three months away, I prepared to come back to school and thought I was going to go that direction. But three weeks ago, I got a call from the Giants, and they expressed interest.”

The Giants told Weber to expect staying at home for at least the next two weeks since professional baseball is currently locked in labor negotiations amid coronavirus concerns. Arizona Fall League is also up in the air where Weber may or may not throw his first innings professionally. The Giants gave no word on a physical or a report date for rookie ball to Weber, and he is unsure what to expect if there is no season this year.

The Illini will surely miss the former ace of the pitching staff, who threw 260 2/3 innings while striking out 167 men over three full seasons. Weber’s arsenal includes a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, and he used those weapons to shrink his ERA each year, topping off his last year at Illinois with a 1.31 clip in the shortened 2020 campaign.

Regarding his decision, Weber thought he would end up back in Champaign had he not received a contract offer and even lined up an internship for the fall. The chance to play baseball professionally was enough to sway him, however, and Weber accepted the offer two hours after he got the call on Sunday.

“It feels great to finally know I have a place in an organization, and now all I can do is try to work up from there,” Weber said. “I feel like I’m ready to take the next step in my life.”

In addition to missing his time at Illinois, Weber said he will most fondly remember each fall when the team reunited and trained before regular season games began in the spring. Additionally, he will miss building relationships with new players and strengthening old ones on and off the field, which he feels the team took full advantage of.

Weber received full support from the Illinois coaching staff after giving them the news, and they wished him well on his path forward. However, head coach Dan Hartleb will have to find himself a new ace following Weber’s departure. Recently named freshman All-American Cole Kirscheiper will certainly be included in that mix next season. It is also worth noting Illinois pitching coach Mark Allen, who came aboard last October following departure of Drew Dickinson, served as the pitching coordinator for the Giants in 2019 where he oversaw all minor league teams and pitching development. As for Weber, he can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being, as his professional baseball journey has only just begun.

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