Werth Takes the Money and Runs.

 

Will Still be Surrounded by Plenty of Phillies Fans.

 

It wasn’t a surprise that Jayson Werth went to the highest bidder.  The surprise is that bidder ended up being the Washington Nationals.  The other surprise would be the size of the contract.  Any doubts about the ability of Scott Boras as an agent should be put to rest with Werth’s 7-year, 126 million dollar deal.  Every baseball analyst, GM, and most baseball people will tell you the Nationals grossly overpaid Werth, but for a team like Washington to get a top-level free agent, they have to sweeten the pot with years and dollars.  The impacts…

First, the gigantic contract gets the Phillies off the hook somewhat.  No one will look at this number and think the Phillies should have matched.  The Yankees wouldn’t have.  The Angels wouldn’t have.  So, the Phils who probably would have capped out around 4 years/64 or something along those lines don’t have to be criticized for being cheap.  Most Phillies fans will look at this dollar amount, realize Werth doesn’t merit the price, and say, “it was fun.”  Of course, there is still the right-handed hole in the lineup and in right field.  It’s so thin out there, people are talking themselves into Matt Diaz.

Secondly, the deal should be a windfall for Carl Crawford.  Crawford now sits as the premier position player on the market, and the bar has been set obscenely high.  Any club in the mix for Crawford must be furious with the Nationals for setting the market at not only 126 million, but seven years.  Apparently Werth had another offer for 18 million a year that didn’t stretch for seven years. So, if that is the case, expect Crawford to have at least a couple of suitors in that neighborhood.

Lastly, there are plenty of ways the Nationals can defend the deal.  It’s the plight of a second-tier club that they can’t get a free agent at market value.  All things equal, Werth probably isn’t going to Washington.  They also are in dire need of credibility.  With Adam Dunn leaving, the team still has some young talent, but not a recognizable face, at least until Strasburg returns in 2012.  Ryan Zimmerman is still the Nationals best player, but adding Werth in this way makes the Nats, at least for the time being, something more than afterthoughts in the NL East.

In some ways, it is similar to the Phillies signing of Jim Thome.  The Phillies were still years away when they signed Thome for huge money, but it at least showed the fans they were serious and gave the club some instant credibility.  By the time everything came together here, Thome was gone.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen in Washington. If Washington is a contender in 3-4 years, there is a decent chance Werth will have moved on by then, especially if he can’t maintain his full range of skills into his mid-thirties.

Elsewhere:

The Red Sox are apparently on the verge of locking up Adrian Gonzalez in a trade with San Diego.  The Red Sox let Victor Martinez walk, their fans were about to revolt if they signed Werth, and so a deal for Gonzalez makes a lot of sense.  They’ve been coveting San Diego’s first baseman for years, and it seems like they will finally pry him free for a few prospects.  Tough deal for Padres’ fans to swallow.  A year after just missing the playoffs they lose their only middle of the lineup player.  I guess San Diego didn’t think one more run with Gonzalez was worth losing him for just draft picks.  In Boston, if Gonzalez is paired with another addition, say Crawford, then the Sox lineup becomes suddenly formidable, perhaps its most dangerous since Manny was in town and happy.

Big sigh of relief from the everything’s all right department with Jeter returning to New York.  I’d say the Yankees probably overpaid Jeter more than the Nationals overpaid Werth(in terms of dollars)…but what else were they going to do?  Jeter moved significantly off his demands, and after hearing that he was asking for a deal into his forties, the three years doesn’t seem so bad for NY.  Now, it’s on Derek to return to form.  One bounce back year, and no one will think again about this contract.  And, with everyone in-house taken care of, the Yankees can now focus on Cliff Lee.

Quickly…

Pat Burrell takes peanuts in San Francisco.  Guess he likes that “Machine” costume.

Pat Gillick elected to the Hall of Fame.  He won’t be taking Ruben Amaro Jr. along for this ride.

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27 thoughts on “Werth Takes the Money and Runs.

  1. My jaw dropped when I saw the werth contract. These clowns always say the same thing, I’m paraphasing…’it isn’t about the $$, before he signed we needed to know that Washington was committed to winning and that they were going to surround jayson with talent..’
    Yeah, the nationals are big players in the mkt…the guy has under 700 career hits, and is getting $18 mil per. This one will be an albatross around their neck in 2013

    • Washington has some money to spend. They are a good 3-4 years away from having to tie up any more significant money in Harper or Strasburg.

      I don’t know if their payroll can get much north of 100 million, but they certainly aren’t the Marlins.

      They’ve always had one or two big contracts. Soriano, Dunn, or whoever.

  2. MLB, are we doin’ this? $18M/ year, for a guy who hit 27 home runs? I can’t imagine what crawford is gonna get. Do the Nats even have a fan base?

  3. What kind of dirt does Scott Boras have on the Nationals? Strasburg’s contract, Harper’s contract, Werth….my GAWD. It’s carnage when you get him in a room with the Nats’ FM.

  4. Well, if it is true that there was a 5 or 6 year offer at 18 million, then this is probably what Washington had to do.

    Should they have is the question?

    I think they are reaching for Werth, wanting him to be Matt Holiday or whoever, and he probably isn’t going to be that guy.

    But you know they are hoping that Zimmerman/Harper/Werth is some deadly 3-4-5 combo for them in the near future.

    And with that in place maybe they can lure a pitcher to compliment the young guys or whatever.

    But, masterful job by Boras. As always. It’s not a fluke he gets these players or contracts.

  5. If you were going to throw out this kind of money though, wouldn’t you go after Crawford? You’re gonna pay top dollar for an aging player with very little history, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

  6. Yes, but the Nationals wouldn’t be able to get Crawford with this kind of money. They would have to pay a pretty good premium over what the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels are willing to pay for Crawford.

  7. congrats, 3-Putt…on yesterday’s performance around Henderson. i hear they were celebrating in your honor at ristorante primavera, last night. cops showed. places was off. the.hook.

    anyhow.

    this whole werth thing got q thinking in a very q way.

    who else would be worth of 18 mil a year, mabe is a chick got into the majors.

    i don’t wanna debate nascar as a sport with BK, or women’s upper body strength with you 3-Putt. i’m just saying, 21st century, q’s would pay to see coed high quality teams.

    i’d pay 19 mil from my own pocket if heather mitts crossed over.

    Q

  8. publicity, i dunno…ethics and business stance.

    like, someday, i’d like to take a daughter to the park and say, look, honey, you can play with the boys too.

    go get dirty in the infield.

    boom. 19 mill werthy
    pun intended.

    Q

  9. if we get to the point where a woman can help a major league team win, i’m pretty comfortable she’ll be there.

    it’s not like there are women beating down the door trying to get into MLB, and clearly worthy and they are banned…

    didn’t someone sign that woman knuckleballer from Japan?

    It could happen at some point.

  10. I’m one of the few people who isn’t mad at Werth. I mean put yourself in his shoes. You won a championship, you can get a ton of money and not only set yourself up for the future, but you can also set up your kids, your kid’s kids and so on.

    Why not do it?

    He’s got the ring, now get the cash. People who act high and mighty about not taking the money and playing for a winning team are either A) Liars or B) Idiots.

    • hey DC,

      miss you!

      but i gotta say, i hold werth a lil responsible…

      come on people, fleecing of america, here. hehe.

      18 mill? 18 mill? people only need 45000 a year to be baseline happy, financially speaking. anything over. greed. but society does breed the greedy athlete…so, i guess we’re all responsible for werth. gigs.

      Q

      • this argument always bothers me on a number of levels…

        what’s he supposed to do turn down money so the owners (who are richer than the players) get to save some millions?

        and, at least athletes provide entertainment. there’s a product there. think about all the millionaires in the world who don’t produce anything, or provide any type of service.

      • i think one thing to keep in mind with these contracts is the amount of revenue that can be gained just by increasing attendance.

        if werth can produce and help the team get a little better, that could increase attendance by a few thousand a game. over the course of 81 home games, those numbers really add up. factor in ticket price, concessions, shirts, hats, parking, etc., and you can get to $10-$20 million pretty quickly, especially for a team with the attendance upside the nationals have.

        also, they are doing a lot of development around the nationals ball park. if more people move down there because living near the stadium becomes cool, that’ll lead to restaurants and shops, which will lead to more people having decent jobs and the opportunity to reach that “baseline happy” benchmark of $45k a year.

        that said, i’m a little concerned werth could be the next vernon wells–who, while having a decent bounce back year last year, kinda sucked after signing a…. wait for it…. 7 year $126 million extension. and he was a few years younger.

      • yeah, i mean, i was being simplistic. sorry.

        i was being big picture, not realistic. i know agents are a factor too.

        yes, i hear your argument. it’s just hard to be a social worker and think any of these dudes are that innocent after a certain point.

        i do think athletes are often pawns, but setting standards and ethics should also be part of fair play…pay i mean.

        Q

  11. I think Will was speaking generally. There is some greed backlash against Werth, but I haven’t heard a ton of it yet.
    But, I haven’t listened to the radio much today either.

    I certainly don’t blame him. Was just stating that he took the cash.

    The most interesting bit of the story for me will be how Werth handles the money.

    Now that he took it can he earn it? In terms of dealing with the press, being the focus of fans, he was behind Rollins/Utley and a couple other guys here.

    Now every reporter in DC will be waiting for him to weigh in on every issue about the team. Especially since Zimmerman is basicallly a mute.

    • It was the greed backlash I heard on the radio in Philly. I know they don’t speak for everyone, but what I’ve heard so far sounded like a bunch of jealous a-holes.

  12. You are 100% right- when you are ‘the man’ everything is different. With the phils, he could hide a but. His slumps weren’t publicized, but everyone was well aware if Howard or utley wasn’t playing well..and you mentioned how reporters will run to him as well, that all goes hand-in-hand with being the #1 guy. I never fault the guy for taking the $, you’d be insane to turn that kind of dough down. But don’t tell me you went to DC because they are going to be competing for world titles
    Is JCK live in foxboro rocking a Ted Johnson jersey?

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