Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jayson Werth Signs with The Washington Nationals

It was announced today that the Washington Nationals signed 32-year old OF Jayson Werth formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies to a 7-year $126 million dollar deal for an average of $18 million a year. Manny Ramirez (8-year $160 million in 2000) and Alfonso Soriano (8-year $136 million in 2006) are the only outfielders to sign larger contracts than Werth. So what does this do for the Nationals.

First it causes the Nationals to create a big splash on the eve of the MLB Winter meetings. To be perfectly honest, of the teams that I had read that were interested in Werth the Nationals did not even come up in the conversation. For the Nats to sign a top free-agent from a division rival is key. The signing also helps to ease the loss of slugger Adam Dunn who signed a 4-year $56 million deal with the Chicago White Sox last week. 

Second, it gives the National some stability in the outfield and a veteran presence that has played on winning teams in the young clubhouse. This can already be seen with the Nationals in the case of Ivan Rodriguez who has had a definite positive effect on the Nationals. Sometimes a team on the cusp of moving up to the next level needs some experience. I think Werth can fit that role. And that's it for the positives. 

I think that for the splash made by the Nationals, they gave Werth way too much in terms of years. At the end of the contract, Werth will be 39-years old. Can he be productive at that age? Absolutely. Look at his former teammate Raul Ibañez for an outfielder to be productive at an older age. My question is how will Werth be after possibly three, four or five years of not being competitive. He has been used to playing with the Phillies who for the last four seasons has been in the post-season with two back-to-back World Series appearances in 2008 and 2009. Will he play the same on a team that (let's say for argument sake) is out of contention by August each year? Only time can answer that question.

I can't positively answer this next point but I think that we can take the Nationals out of the Cliff Lee race. They were mentioned early on as one of the possible teams that Lee might play for this upcoming season. As the San Francisco Giants proved this past season, productive pitching can overcome deficits in offensive production behind them. A rotation anchored by Cliff Lee and Stephen Strausberg with Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman providing some thunder from the offensive side makes the Nationals intriguing to say the least. Who knows, maybe the ownership behind the Nationals have a few more cards up their sleeves and pull out the trump card in the form of Cliff Lee. We'll know soon enough.

As for the NL East? Well the Werth signing is an example of the rest of the division gaining ground while the Phillies lose ground. The Braves are stronger with the pick up of Dan Uggla last month. The Marlins will remain pesky in the division. The Mets are something of an unknown as we won't know how Beltran, Bay and Santana come back from their injuries. What we do know is that the Phillies are a year older with a big hole to fill in the outfield. Are Domonic Brown and/or John Mayberry ready to play at the major league level? Thankfully Spring Training is only a few months away so we won't have to wait too long to see what happens. Plus, the winter meetings start tomorrow. There should be more fireworks in store.

FH

5 comments:

  1. Man, I don't want to be paying a 37-, 38-, and 39-year old Werth $50 million. He was really helped by the ballpark, too, I remember seeing, like he had the highest percentage of "just barely" HRs in 2009 (haven't seen 2010 numbers yet). This contract is stunning. Carl Crawford must be a very happy man today!

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  2. I've seen a number of comparison with Werth's last year to Aaron Rowand's last year in Philly and the numbers are similar. Not sure if the same will happen with Werth. Definitely Crawford is a happy man with Werth and Boras blowing up the market. I see him in Anaheim with the Angels.

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  3. Me and Emily went to a Sox game down in Philly and the fans LOVED him. And I can see why, Werth is a gamer. But still. That's too much money. Hey, what do you think about Adrian in Boston? I'm not sure it's a great city for Latin players. Victor left, I don't think Beltre's looking to stay. We embraced Pedro, but who wouldn't? I don't think Manny got a great shake here. I love the Sox obviously but I will admit we might not be a good place for Latin players. What's the word on the street?

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  4. It weird that aside from Big Papi, it seems as if Boston (in terms of Baseball) is a hard place for Latino ballplayers or even players of color. Boston was the last team to integrate in 1959. I've only been to Boston once and for only a day so the window of my point of view is very small but I have to admit, I was hard pressed to see anyone of color walking the streets of Downtown Boston. As cosmopolitan as Boston is, it seems to be not as visibly integrated as cities like New York and Baltimore.

    I agree to a certain degree with your assessment on Manny. He didn't make it any easier by dogging plays and claiming he couldn't play when he wasn't offered the money he wanted in the extension. But you do see similarities with him, Jim Rice, Pedro (near the end) and Nomar to name a few.

    I think the way the Phillies fans loved Werth would have been the same way the Red Sox fans would have treated him. He's in that dirty (in a good way) and gritty looking player like Youk, Pedroia, Tek and Millar were/are. The Sox fans seem more attracted to the blue collar type than pretty boys/white collar type that my Yankees seem to have, LOL.

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  5. Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball website has the following breakdown to Jayson Werth's contract with the Washington Nationals in his article Details of Jayson Werth Contract with Washington Nationals Surface:

    Annual base salary - $10 million (2011), $13 million (2012), $16 million (2013), $20 million (2014), $21 million (2015), $21 million (2016), $21 million (2017).

    As of posting, there is no word as to whether there are any performance or award bonuses. Werth’s 2-year deal in Jan. of 2009 that avoided arbitration had a $1 million signing bonus, plus an extra $25,000 each for 500 and 600 plate appearances.

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