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Posted at 9:04 AM ET, 12/ 6/2010

Rounding up Jayson Werth reaction

By Adam Kilgore

The Nationals grabbed national headlines yesterday by signing Jayson Werth to a bigger deal than anyone imagined he would sign. "We're not done," one Nationals employee said late last night, so who knows what to expect out of the Nationals today and the rest of this week from the winter meetings. In the meantime, here are some links on Werth ...

Scott Boras got Werth an insane contract, Ken Rosenthal writes.

The Nationals made a huge bet that Jeff Passan calls the Contract of Death.

The Nationals overpaid, but they had to in order to make a statement, Mark Zuckerman says.

Ben Goessling looks at the connection between Scott Boras and the Nationals.

Dave Cameron says the contract is not the drastic overpay many believe, and examines more about Werth's value.

The Nationals deserve credit for thinking big, but they also thought wrong, writes Tim Marchman.

Werth's contract changes the market for everyone else this week, writes Jayson Stark.

Signing Werth had been brewing in Mike Rizzo's mind for a while, Jerry Crasnick says.

The Nationals earned some credibility yesterday, Ed Price writes.

By Adam Kilgore  | December 6, 2010; 9:04 AM ET
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Next: Nationals looking to add bullpen help


I don't picture Werth being a silver Elvis wig kind of guy, but I am glad we signed him! This will make it easier to sign other players who might have hesitated because of the perception of a losing attitude here.

Willingham to first, Bernadina in left, and Morgan in center for now.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | December 6, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

A ton of columns this morning about how terrible the deal is. No surprise, we all have our reservations.

No columns (or even mentions) about how none of these 'experts' ever saw this deal coming. Again, no surprise. More proof that they don't have any better insider knowledge than the rest of us.

Posted by: bryc3 | December 6, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I like the signing. However, ESPN states that Werth hit .580 during the Phillies visits to DC. It's not the park, its the Nats.

Posted by: boyn4884 | December 6, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The move adds depth to the outfield and makes trading Willingham easier to handle.

The interesting part to me now is who else will be trade bait?

Norris or Ramos? Marrero? Morgan? Maxwell? Desmond? I think Desmond and Morgan are here to stay.

My guess is that LaRoche will be on his way. Maybe Pavano and a trade for another SP.

Posted by: derwink | December 6, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I like the Worth signing, a team this bad has to over reach to get good free agents. There is talk of adding Pena or LaRoche to play 1st base. All though they would be good fit, a better fit would be Prince Fielder who also bats lefty. He is younger more athletic, fitting the Rizzo model, than either Pena or LaRoche. Would it take a lot to get him? Sure, but you have to give to get. The good news is the precedence of what type of deal it would take has been set with the Gonzo deal. The other reason why it makes sense is he is a Boras client. Recently it has been said that Fielder wants 200 Million; given the fact the Learners have now opened their wallets and the great relationship the team has with Boras it could be a great fit and make the contract talks go smooth.

Posted by: hansenjo | December 6, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Reposting from elsewhere:

So, now what? Obviously the Nats need a 1B who bats lefthanded, hits homers and can field well. That means either Pena or Laroche.

They're probably going to sign Pavano to help out the rotation. I like that move.

Then, do they pull the trigger on a trade? Willinghan, Desmond, one of the catching prospects for a starting pitcher? Find another CF/leadoff option to either challenge or replace Nyjer? Get a veteran middle infielder to play 2B with Espinosa going to SS? Flesh out the bullpen with a veteran arm? Get another stick for the bench?

I predict we see two of those events during this winter meeting.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 6, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Had the Yankees or Red Sox signed Werth for the same amount, Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein would be praised for making a gutsy deal and very probably even called geniuses for having beat out the other.

The lack of respect teams other than the Yankees or Red Sox get, is downright pathetic.

Posted by: KenzAFan | December 6, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

As a jaded Redskins Fan, all I have to say to this young man is "Welcome to Washington, where great athletes come to piss thier careers away."

Posted by: David90 | December 6, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Lerner, you guys are idiots! You overpaid for Werth!!!"

"My God, you're right, sir. Here, would you like another Bud Lite? Yes? That will be eight dollars, sir. Thank you very much."

Posted by: gilbertbp | December 6, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

So the columnists parrot the other executives saying it is a shocking overpayment. Some random responses to the various stories should include:

This may be comparable to Vernon Wells but not to Zito. Zito - a pitcher - was a poor gamble. Wells seemed like a good gamble, that has gone bad.

Werth is a better buy at $126M than Soriano at $160M.

The comparisons to Matt Holiday correctly identified that Holiday had a longer track record, but most of that track was at Coors Field.

The temptaition to judge this deal in isolation should be resisted. It is part of "Phase 2" not all of Phase 2. Additional players will be acquired over the next few years.

It's not a $126M gamble, it's at most a $60M gamble. They'll get their $60M worth of value over the term of the contract for sure. They'll probably get $100M worth of value. And if the economy improves, they'll get an even better return.

Posted by: natbisquit | December 6, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Did not realize he is already 32 years old. Horrible deal based on that alone ...

Posted by: justaguy43 | December 6, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Of course, straight up, the contract is too large - both in dollars and duration. But if the Nats don't do that, THEY DON'T GET THE PLAYER. It's not just that "if the money is even, the player is leavin' [DC]." Over and over, from Mark Texeira through Jorge De La Rosa and Javier Vazquez, the Nationals have watched players go to other teams for LESS money than the Nationals offered. This contract is, in part, a downpayment on changing that perception of the Nationals.

The criticism essentially amounts to the Nationals being told to mind their place as farm teams for the rest of the league - and maybe occasionally as a rehab location for a player to get back to a "real" team. The heck with that. And to have fans of the Mets (Oliver Perez? Carlos Delgado?), Phillies (Jim Thome? Ryan Howard?), Red Sox (Manny Ramirez? Daisuke Matsuzaka? the coming Gonzalez contract?) or Yankees (Kevin Brown? Carl Pavano? A-Rod? Derek Jeter? Jorge Posada?) criticize this move is hilarious.

Posted by: JCCfromDC | December 6, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

bryc3 is right on target. How about a mea culpa from The Post on how all of them - Kilgore, Sheinen, Boswell - completely missed on this story. Don't remember Werths' name ever appearing under anyone's banner as a likely or even possible signee. Really makes me wonder what kinds of "sources" any of them have and greatly diminishes their credibility. As I said in another post, one of my old teachers at AU, Shirley Povich, must be rolling over in his grave. The Post used to have one of the best Sports sections in the country. Not even close anymore...

Posted by: truke | December 6, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I've heard of refs doing make-up calls, but I've never seen owners committing a make-up contract.

Posted by: Section506 | December 6, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

If it pisses the rest of the league off, it must have been a good deal. Most MLB teams would rather the Nats be their farm team for prospects or an easy team to beat on their schedule. They resent another competitor entering their territory.

Go Nats, don't take any s- and keep going for it!

Posted by: cabraman | December 6, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Please, please, please, no more, "lets move X to 1st" suggestions. 1st Base is actually an important defensive position. Ask anyone who has ever played 3rd, SS, or 2nd the difference a 1st Baseman makes.

We need a real 1st baseman, not just someone who can't play the outfield anymore. LaRoche or Pena will do wonders for Desmond and Espinosa.

Posted by: sollazo | December 6, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

A mea culpa from the Post for not being on top of this? How about kudos to Rizzo for being able to keep things quiet and work in stealth mode. It's been Rizzo's way, and it's in general the right way. If Rizzo and the Nats FO wanted the Post to know, then they would have known. "Sources" were not giving this up, not even to the illustrious Mr. Povich.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 6, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Sunderland, I believe Povitch WAS informed about it, but was sworn to keep it quiet until the announcement.

Man, I'd hate to play poker with Rizzo. You never know what cards he's holding.

Posted by: gilbertbp | December 6, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland, great point. One thing should be clear by now: Rizzo never, ever plays out his hand in public. Forget his public comments about anything related to player moves. The only way to judge him will be by his actions.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 6, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Did the Nats take contract tips from Dan Snyder?

Posted by: NatsSince1967 | December 6, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

gilbert, I've wondered why you're so baseball savvy. You've got a direct line to Shirley!
Ask him what he thinks about expanding the playoffs, and if an average baseball salary of $3M a year is just about right.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 6, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I assume most of you are aware of the rumors flying on Zuckerman's Nats Insider about another big, unexpected deal in the works:

"If you thought the Werth signing was a jaw-dropper, I've heard some growing rumblings about an even more surprising deal in the works. I'm talking about a player no one has mentioned being even remotely under consideration by the Nationals this winter. I don't want to throw his name out there, because I haven't been able to get anyone in an official capacity who might know about this to confirm it. But I heard this name from multiple people yesterday, people who in my experience wouldn't just throw that out there without having some actual knowledge. I'll see if I can get some confirmation from official sources this morning."

Posted by: baltova1 | December 6, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The Werth signing would make sense on only one level: in that it gives the Nats some credibility and makes it plausible for other players to sign here. His deal is too much money probably in Year 1. By Year 7, it will be a running joke, and a huge albatross. You can't give that kind of money and term to a 32-y.o. and claim it's anything like fair market value. They didn't just overpay...they grossly overpaid.

Just for a sense of perspective, look at the report on the Red Sox-Padres deal: The Padres, after off-loading Adrian G., expect to have a payroll of $40 million. When the Nats re-up Zimmerman in a year or two, that will be their budget for just two of 25 players. And, I would hesitate to predict which team will fare better over the next two or three years.

Having said that, if the Werth signing does lead to a LaRoche signing and maybe a No. 1 or No. 2 starting pitcher, it will be hard to say this wasn't a pivotal moment in the team's turnaround. Even if he's getting some good anti-aging PEDs, I don't expect Werth to be putting up $18 million dollar statistics in 5 years, much less 7, but if he can deliver 4 really, really good years, it will be a big step forward for this franchise.

Posted by: fischy | December 6, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey JCCfromDC - Very nicely put....

Posted by: Sunderland | December 6, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

With Werth in the fold, if the Nats are able to get Adam LaRoche at the Winter meetings, Washington will have improved their club at least 15 games in the standings -- without adding any pitching.

What people are not understanding is that the era of home runs is over. Now it is teams like San Francisco -- with little offense, but great defense and pitching -- that are going to succeed. Players like Adam Dunn do not get you where you need to be. Players like Werth and LaRoche do.

Kevin Olson
Manassas, VA

Posted by: noslok | December 6, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part of this is that the other MLB execs are "apoplectic" at this huge deal. The same MLB execs raped this franchise and left it for dead from 2002-2007. Cry my a river.

Posted by: Bowdenball | December 6, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

This team could have the pieces in place for 2012 now. Werth could make that much of a difference with what they have and what is coming. Your everyday line up:
Leading off
3rd. Zimmerman

Could be a very strong lineup without a lot of easy outs anywhere.
Does this seem out of the relm of possibilities?


Posted by: RichC3 | December 6, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

This team could have the pieces in place for 2012 now. Werth could make that much of a difference with what they have and what is coming. Your everyday line up:
Leading off
3rd. Zimmerman

Could be a very strong lineup without a lot of easy outs anywhere.
Does this seem out of the relm of possibilities?


Posted by: RichC3 | December 6, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Offensively, Werth was the second-best RF in the majors last year, with a VORP of 53.2. That's five games right there, just on offense.

Adam Dunn in 2010 had a VORP of 40.5. So we've replaced Dunn's bat and more, assuming Werth can keep it up. And even playing fewer games in the bandbox in Philly, Dunn for Werth is probably a wash, offensively.

I wish we could have kept Dunn, too, but a slow, defensively challenged slugger is an unnecessary luxury, and could be seen as a liability, on the small-ball team that Rizzo apparently is trying to build.

Posted by: TomServo | December 6, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Deal for Werth----

To much money?
To many years?
Good deal for Nats?
Bad teams must overpay to lure free agents.
Will it make a difference?
Short term probably not. Long term--maybe but not unless Nats sign at least 2 starting pitchers.



Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 6, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

For what it's Werth, er Worth, it wouldn't exactly take a Woodward or Bernstein to find out that the Lerners went to the west coast to meet with them.

Posted by: truke | December 6, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

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