Sunday, December 05, 2010


When Our Washington Nationals sent out their official press release late this afternoon announcing the signing of Jayson Werth to a multi-year deal, the first thoughts: "Excellent, solid hitter, hits for power, plus outfielder with a decent arm, gives Washington another slugger in a corner outfield spot."

Then came the the years agreed to on the contract: Seven.


A few minutes later MLB Network was reporting a $126 Million deal. The largest deal in franchise history.


That's an $18 million average over the course of the contract.

Makes Adam Dunn's 4-year, $56 Million deal with The White Sox look pale in comparison (pun intended).

Jayson Werth is going to be a nice edition to D.C.'s ballclub. He's needed. But are the last three years of this signing going to cripple team payroll? After 2013, Ryan Zimmerman's current contract ends. The Z-Man will need a new deal for huge money.  Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper will follow behind him. Then there is who else will be added to strengthen and build a contending Washington team?

Good for The Lerner Family for shelling out the big bucks.  But is it too much, to one aging guy, for too long of a period of time?  Jayson Werth will be 39 years old at the conclusion of this seven year, $126 Million contact.


Absolutely floored by this deal. We are going to need a day or two to digest it.

In a live press conference airing on MLB Network, Our GM Mike Rizzo called the Werth signing the beginning of "Phase Two" of development. Riz also noted he's only just beginning the off-season overhaul. With the Winter Meetings officially beginning tomorrow, Mike insinuated more deals are in the making.

Here are exact quotes from the final few minutes of Rizzo's Q & A in Lake Buena Vista Florida this afternoon:

Rizzo: "Well, I'd like to thank everybody for showing up. It's a big day for the Washington Nationals. We're very proud to announce the signing of Jayson Werth to a contract with the Washington Nationals. He'll be a center piece of our ballclub on the field and in the clubhouse. It kind of exemplifies Phase 2 of the Washington Nationals' process. Phase 1 was a scouting and player development, build the farm system type of program. We feel that we're well on the way to doing that and now it's the time to go the second phase and really compete for Division titles and championships. We feel that with a player of Jayson Werth's ilk, a two-way player, a guy who excels offensively, defensively, baserunning and exhibits five tools, that's the type of player we're looking for and we're just so pleased and so proud that the Lerner family has allowed me the resources to go out and get Jayson and we think he's going to be a big piece of a puzzle. We certainly have more holes to fill, we have more work to do and we're certainly aggressively going from here and beyond." 

Rizzo: “He feels like I feel Jayson’s best days haven’t been had yet. We feel this is a player who had a slower start as a Major League player and is only going to continue on and improve his skills in his future time in the Big Leagues.”
Rizzo: “Jayson has the ability to play centerfield and rightfield. As of today, I think we have him penciled in to hit in the middle of the lineup and play rightfield. But we are certainly early in the off-season and things can change from there. He has the skill and the skill-set to play multiple positions in the outfield.”
Rizzo: “I have been a big fan of Jayson Werth since he was a high school kid in Springfield, Illinois. I scouted him there and have been a fan of his linage, his family--his grandfather was “Ducky” Schofield who played, I think, 19 years in the Big Leagues. His uncle, Dick Schofield, who I had the pleasure of playing with in the Minor Leagues with The Angels, played 13 or 14 years in the Big Leagues.  His mother was an olympic type of athlete. So this guy we have known for a long time. I have had my eye on him for a long time. And a lot of people accuse me of (saying) the day he ended the game against (Drew) Storen (in Philadelphia late this year) was the day he came on the radar. But he was on the radar well before that.”

And here is the official release from the team:


The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms with free-agent right fielder Jayson Werth on a seven-year contract. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Werth, 31, is a career .272 (684-for-2519) hitter with 138 doubles, 15 triples, 120 home runs, 406 RBI, 77 stolen bases and 433 runs scored in 775 games spanning eight seasons with Philadelphia (2007-10), Los Angeles-NL (2004-05) and Toronto (2002-03). For his career, Werth also owns .367 on-base and .481 slugging percentages, as well as an .848 OPS.

In 2010, his final season with the Phillies, Werth batted .296 (164-for-554) with an NL-leading 46 doubles, 27 home runs and 85 RBI in 156 games. He established career highs in hits, doubles, extra-base hits (75) and runs (106). He also notched a career-best .532 slugging percentage in ‘10, and thus, increased his slugging mark for the fourth straight season.

An NL All-Star in ‘09, Werth burst upon the scene as a premium middle-of-the-lineup bat in 2008, and in three seasons since, he has batted .279 with 88 doubles, 87 home runs, 251 RBI and 53 stolen bases in 449 games. In the same three-year span, Werth has paced MLB having seen 4.46 pitches per plate appearance. In the two-season stretch from 2009-10, Werth’s 204 runs scored, 173 walks and 63 home runs ranked third, fifth and eighth, respectively in the NL.

An excellent baserunner, Werth has twice posted 20-stolen base seasons (2008, ‘09), and in 2010 his speed and senses helped him to score 100-plus runs for the first time in his career.
Drafted in the first round by the Orioles as a catcher in 1997, Werth has proven durable, as he is one of only 12 National Leaguers to have played in 155-plus games each of the last two seasons.


Chris S. said...

Werth is a great all around guy, and a tremendous ballplayer, but he's streaky, which can be frustrating.

Regarding the deal, I sort of feel like at $18 a year WAS could have had him for fewer than 7 years, but so it goes.

The real thing I see here is an answer to a question I posed when SS first got hurt: Will ownership spend the big bucks in 2011 so that when SS comes back in 2012 the team will be realizing the potential it had for that season before he got hurt? Answer is yes.

paul said...

Hmmm, streaky home run hitters. I wonder what that is like?

I keep thinking of Riggleman's contract, which I probably have harped on too much. But I think this makes Werth 50 times more valuable/year? How do you manage under such a situation?

I also keep thinking about Boras. What must Boras be saying to Lerner to get these contracts for his players? Maybe Boras could come to Capitol Hill and persuade the folks to settle on a balanced budget?

Mr. NATural said...

I finally figured out what's going on with the Nationals. The secret? -- The Nats are doing EXACTLY what they said they were going to do.

They, especially Rizzo, have been saying they are going for pitching, defensive prowess, and athleticism. They say it every chance they get. But I haven't listened, until now.

Make a checklist with pitching, defense, athleticism on it, then grade current and prospective players against the checklist. It explains Dunn. Explains Belliard. Explains why they're so patient with Maxwell at the plate--because of his defense and athleticism. Explains Espinosa, Desmond, Bernadina.

Use this checklist when names come up. Fields--no. Thome--no. (Just examples--I'm not saying they're candidates to come here.)

Now that I get it, I understand, I like it, and I like the Werth deal too!

Screech's Best Friend said...

What always been impressive about Rizzo is that he does stick to his beliefs and doesn't waiver. You have to appreciate that determination. He likes ground ball pitchers, defense, athleticism (as mentioned in the comment area). He knows what his ideal team should be to contend and that's what he's attempting to build.

Mike Rizzo knows what he wants. I like that too.

geoffrobinson said...

Phillies fan here.

Werth is a good to very good player in many facets. However, he has a about two good non-injured years under his belt. He's relatively old.

So for the first three years he should be worth it. And during the last 4 you will curse this day.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

The Yankees have reportedly offered Cliff Lee over $140M for 7 seven years---and Lee still hasn't bitten. Now I'm not worried about losing Cliff Lee. I'm a little worried if the Nats WIN him.

The Man, "J" said...

While I'm glad to see the cheapskate ownserhsip group open its deep pockets, to sign Werth, he's the kind of player I'd sign, if I was 3 or 4 players away from having a contending team.

The Nats have much more pressing needs: starting pitchers, a lead-off hitter, a clean-up hitter, and a first-baseman. Two of these needs could have been filled, by signing Adam Dunn, and the money spent would not have been near the amount they spent on Werth.

The ownership group has been called cheap and dumb. Perhaps, now just the latter applies -- we'll see. I'm not convinced, yet that they both don't apply.

The Man, "J" said...

While I'm glad to see the cheapskate ownership group open its deep pockets to sign Werth. For me, he's the kind of player a team signs if it's 3 or 4 players away from being a contending team for the playoffs, rather than the cellar team we are.

We have much more pressing needs than signing a fairly good hitting and fielding right fielder, like: starting pitchers, a good lead-off hitter, a good clean-up hitter, and a first baseman. Two of these needs (first baseman and clean-up hitter) could have been filled by signing Adam Dunn, for a lot less than was spent on signing Werth.

The ownership has been called cheap and dumb. Perhaps, the latter, only, applies, now. Although, I'm not convinced yet. I'm waiting to see if the ownership group goes more into its deep pockets, to get more players we need to be at least a 500 team, and even better, what they promised us, years ago -- a contending team.