This is one of those strange moments in sport where the collective wisdom of the entire baseball community all has a single opinion of something… and when it will inevitably come true, there will be a “WE TOLD YOU SO” ringing so loud through the land that windows will vibrate.
In 2006, Jayson Werth was an injury prone outfielder who played for the Blue Jays and then the Dodgers. He missed the entire 2006 season after surgery to his wrist.
He was 27 years old. He had only once played more than 100 games in a season. (He had NEVER played 105 games in a season.)
His numbers were ordinary except for a glimpse of things to come when he homered twice in the 2004 Division Series for the Dodgers. I remember seeing one of the homers and thinking “Jayson WHO?”
And now, after 6 full seasons (and parts of 2 others) in the bigs, he is signed for seven years.
The next time he hits .300 will be the first time in his career.
The next time he drives in 100 runs will be the first time in his career.
The next time he finishes in the top 5 in On Base Percentage, Slugging, OPS and total bases will be the first time in his career.
He’s had one truly terrific season… his walk year.
Any alarms going off yet?
Plus he is in his 30s and guess what? The age when sluggers get BETTER when they reach their mid 30s are over… and he’ll be paid like an elite player when he is in his LATE 30s.
Jason Giambi is giggling somewhere.
I know Werth does all the things right and he is a good teammate blah blah blah.
All that has so much more value (note I didn’t make the Werth-Worth pun) when you have MVPs on the team and Cy Young candidates in the rotation.
Kevin Millar was a remarkable cog in the Red Sox wheel… but they had Papi, Ramirez, Damon and a batting champ in Bill Mueller. It’s easier to be the “heart and soul” when other people are supplying the firepower.
Now he will be the heart and soul of a franchise whose biggest star is Stephen Strasburg and he isn’t playing in 2011.
If they had $126 million to throw around, why not get into the Cliff Lee sweepstakes?
Or Prince Fielder?
Or spread that money around and make improvements.
Or stick it in a drawer and wait to spend it when they… oh I don’t know… can put a winning product on the field.
Instead the Nationals tried to make a splash. Well bellyflops make splashes too.
As for Jayson Richard Gowan Werth… I don’t blame him.
He’s won a ring and contributed big time for it in 2008. He has 13 post season homers and a career .987 playoff OPS. He hit 7 homers in the 2009 postseason alone.
And he was a huge part of one of the best Philadelphia sports teams ever. And if they start to go south in 2011, people will blame it on Werth’s departure.
Why not cash it in?
Why not say “Hey, for the next seven seasons, I am going to make so much money that my grandkids will be able to support THEIR kids on it”?
And oh yeah, he should be receiving a thank you note from Carl Crawford.
Werth is off the market but setting the bar high and who is courting Crawford? The Angels, the Yankees and the Red Sox… no big spenders.