The Washington Nationals signed free agent Jayson Werth to a 7 year, $126 million contract today, several days after letting Adam Dunn leave.* Does it surprise you that 31 year old former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder is a Scott Boras client? It strikes me as an irresponsible contract, but since Ted Lerner is worth $3 billion, I don’t care much. Anything beyond 4 good years out of Werth would exceed my expectations, if he gives D.C. 5 good years, it works out to be a pretty good contract. Oh and apparently, the terms of his deal are very similar to P Barry Zito’s contract with the San Francisco Giants; if the Nats win the World Series with Werth left off of the playoff roster, I promise not to complain.
Its funny, while this was going down I was visiting with my folks. My mom and I were discussing the Derek Jeter situation and she mentioned she thought players make way too much money. I told her, you know who else agrees with that statement — the Nats front office! I guess I have to retract that one.
I don’t know that much about Werth other than he has been killing the Nats for several years, so I asked some Phillies fans I know what they thought of Werth and the trade. Now, I know we’re all sensitive to Phillies fans encroaching in our town, but look at it this way — I’m making them work!
He has an interesting story behind him. Drafted as a catcher (congratulations, you also just signed an emergency catcher), injuries derailed his career early on. The Dodgers basically gave up on him, and the Phillies got him very cheaply as a reclamation project. Everyone always thought he’d be very good if he stayed healthy.
Now he’s pretty durable and he had a career high OPS in 2010, even though his HR were down. I wouldn’t be too concerned about that. A few more detailed things:
1) Don’t buy into the whole “he played in a bandbox” thing. Truth is, CBP and Nats Park are pretty similar in Park Factors:
CBP is better for HR, but Nats Park is better for gap power. Which is good news for Werth, since he led the NL in doubles last year and has the wheels for triples. Go back a few years and the patterns remain the same.
2) Really good arm in RF, and above average range. Can definitely play CF, though he is better at RF.
3) Off the field, he is…surly. Reporters are going to have problems with him (not that it matters, but get ready for the stories/blog posts about it). He’ll probably get himself in trouble with Nats fans more than a few times by saying something dumb.
4) Also prepare yourself for a great divide amongst the women of DC. Some women absolutely love him, and some women aren’t attracted to people who look like they’re homeless.
Ladies, what say you on the new rightfielder?
Jayson Werth has been a nice surprise for the Phillies after battling injuries with Los Angeles. It was a great move by Pat Gillick** to bring Werth to the team and we will see if it is a bad move to let him leave to an up and coming division rival. Defensively he is one of the best in right field. Underrated arm, good speed, can cover a lot of ground. Offensively he can be a bit streaky but when he is at the top of his game he can be dangerous. He finished last season with his second best batting average for a season and finished the season strong to help the Phillies get back to the postseason, but then he really struggled in the playoffs on offense (then again, the entire team did).
A seven year deal may be a little long but then again Werth has made a career out of proving the naysayers wrong.
You should know that I haven’t stopped laughing since finding out about the contract. He’s good, but man…that’s a lot of years and a lot of money.
The Ombudsman chimes in from the Boston area:
The first thing you should know is that he IS worth a 7 year $126 million deal. Also, he can fly. He was raised by wolves. On Mars.
Okay, thank you gentleman for your input. I may get more later in the day, we’ll see.
Here is the initial reaction from the Nats beat:
Zuckerman thinks the Nats aren’t done yet (Nats Insider) either with Adam LaRoche or Carlos Pena a very real possibility at first base. Of the two, I want LaRoche. Maybe NatsFanboyLooser has some insight on who the next out there signing (Zuckerman hinted at it) will be since he was the first to get the Werth rumor out.
Unfortunately (on several fronts) there was a Redskins game yesterday, so Thomas Boswell was otherwise occupied. I’ll be very curious to see his reaction, especially after last week’s critical column on the Nats offseason.
The Hot Stove is pretty interesting for a change.
*I think Dunn’s biggest problem isn’t reputation, but representation
**Remember, Gillick campaigned for the Nats job