Wednesday grab bag: Jayson Werth, Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter
After 10 days in Viera (well, technically, nine days in Viera and one day at the circus), I'm back home for a few. (More snow! Woo hoo!) The real purpose of my trip home is for a one-year-old's birthday this weekend (last-minute gift suggestions welcomed), but I will also be appearing in studio today on Washington Post Live with Ivan Carter. We'll be talking lots about the Nationals and everything going on in baseball. Next week, I'll head to Arizona.
In the meantime, here are a few things on my mind:
*I've praised the Philadelphia Phillies in the past for locking up their core in long-term contracts. But here's the flip side to all that roster-building: the Phillies are already on the hook for $130 million to only 15 players in 2011. Unless they increase their payroll budget significantly over this year's figure of around $140 million, they're going to have to make some difficult decisions, and one of those concerns right fielder Jayson Werth.
In short, Werth reaches free agency after this season, and assuming he produces in 2010 like he did in 2009, could be looking at a huge payday. It seems doubtful, given their existing contract commitments, that the Phillies can retain him.
I'm a big Werth fan. Yeah, he'll be nearly 32 when the 2011 season starts, but he has low mileage and the type of body that ages well. I put him into a category that we'll call Players Who Would Look Great in a Nationals Uniform in Future Years.
*I'll just add one thought to the volumes written about Johnny Damon's signing with the Tigers this week: When you sign up as a client of Scott Boras, you are agreeing to several principles: You will pursue the top dollar above all else. You will give no hometown discount. And you will chart an aggressive course through free agency, one that comes with certain risks. Four winters ago, that strategy paid off handsomely for Damon, as he jumped from the Red Sox to the Yankees for a four-year $52 million deal.
And this winter, he lost the gamble. The notion he can turn his one-year $8 million Tigers deal into a big payday next winter is absurd -- he'll be 37 then, and the free agent market doesn't look too kindly upon 37-year-old outfielders with declining defensive skills.
*In Tampa today, Derek Jeter will address the media, and among the topics will be his contract status. With his 10-year $189 million contract set to expire, he becomes a free agent after this season. But if you know anything about Jeter, you already know what he will say. (Hint: It won't be this.)
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