Jayson Werth lands in … Washington?!?


The first big move of the winter meetings has just gone down, with Jayson Werth agreeing to a (get this) seven year contract worth $126M with the Washington Nationals. Yes, the Nationals. That works out to exactly $18M per season. Clearly, the market is rather inflated right now, so any idea of a five year contract for Cliff Lee probably went out the window. The bidding starts at six.

Update (5:14 p.m.): Joel Sherman tweets that the Red Sox offered Werth four years. Today has, so far, not been a great day for the Bostonians.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Ari G says:

    now the nationals can suck with werth ha

  2. Rey22 says:

    Wow, this came out of absolutely nowhere. I had him as a Red Sox for sure.

  3. candyforstalin says:

    wow. just wow.

  4. All Star Carl says:

    Poor Red Sox

  5. MikeD says:

    A seven-year deal? He’s 32. This won’t end well.

    Carl Crawford is now dancing somewhere in his home, knowing his leverage has now increased.

  6. T.J. says:

    Where does $18MM a year put him versus other RFs in the MLB?


    • Total Dominication says:

      To me, that’s ok. He’s near the top. I don’t think many are shocked by the salary, it’s the 7 years that is jarring.

  7. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Favorites for AGon and Werth get nothing. Now Boras has great leverage for Beltre. Good day.

  8. ZZ says:

    Incredible the lack of interest MH got last offseason.

    Really a mistake for the teams looking for outfielders now.

  9. bexarama says:

    You could say the Red Sox are…………… WERTHLESS.

    /Horatio Caine’d

  10. Reggie C. says:

    I guess the recession is over.

    Jayson Werth stays in the NL East, which I imagine played a role in the decision. No Jason Bay effect for that guy.

  11. Zack says:

    I think even Boras was shocked by 126m

  12. CS Yankee says:

    Now we know that everyone in DC have no idea how to spend money.

    I think he is a stud RF power guy, but 7 years for a late bloomer 32 year old Right Fielder…unreal.

  13. Evilest Empire says:

    I had the same thought that this deal is going to up Lee’s price. He’s going to get like 6 / $144M.

    But the Rangers couldn’t possibly touch that cost. I think the Werth signing further guarantees Lee is in pinstripes next year, but at a more inflated price.

  14. Carcillo says:

    This is the worst market day for Boston since 12/23/2008.

    For most of the day, Tex was Boston-bound. At 3:21 PM ET, he was New York bound. Alas for the small market Bostonians.

  15. ZZ says:

    MH should fire his agent after what Jayson Werth’s agent just got for him.

    Oh shit, it’s the same guy :(

  16. Reggie C. says:

    WOW. Just read on MLBTR that the Phillies aren’t getting a compensatory first round pick bc the Nats pick in the protected portion of that round. Surprising day all around. Good Sunday action indeed!

  17. Bryan L says:

    Heh, I love it. The “Nation” is slamming on the panic button right now.

  18. Kit says:

    I’m laughing, but wow, did not see that coming.

  19. JGS says:

    Carl Crawford owes Werth a very, very, very nice gift.

  20. Andrew says:

    Love every second of this. I hope the Sox overpay for Beltre and have him suck like he does in a non contract year. Can’t say enough how much this puts the Red Sox back, its still early and the Sox can still pull off the Adrian Gonzalez trade or another trade but with out Werth too their offense will be about the same or worse than last years

  21. CS Yankee says:

    Happy faces today…Lee, Crawford, Beltre, AG & SD fans, Boras & the entire MLB union.

    Sad faces today…Theo, Bud Selig, The Nats CFO, The group formerly known as Boston’s junior GM club (SD).

  22. MikeD says:

    They offered Werth a four-year deal? I think the Red Sox might want to wake up to the concept of market pricing.

  23. Evilest Empire says:

    Really now, if the Nationals are going to be like “eff it, if it takes a ridiculous overpay to court a marquee FA in order to help the franchise, let’s do it” … why do it on Werth?

    Why not do it on Matt Holliday last year? Or Crawford / Lee this year? Or save it for Gonzales or Fielder next year? Jayson Werth is the least reliable bet for value / dollar spent out of all of them.

    Each one of those guys would have cost more, yes, but the bang-for-your-buck is far far greater. They could’ve landed Crawford for like $3M more a year I bet.

    • CS Yankee says:

      I would think that before today they would of had Crawford for under that contract.

      Where is Boston going to get their next power bat as things are drying up in bean town.

    • JoeyH says:

      All of your reasoning makes total sense, however, none of us give a rats ass as the Yankees don’t share a division with the Nationals. They wanna spend their money recklessly, all the more power to them; its just a W for the Yankee fans to imagine Theo stamping his feet.

    • Kiersten says:

      Yeah but who of those guys would want to go to the Nationals? I’d like to think that even if the Nationals slightly outbid the Yankees for Lee (and they’d only be able to slightly beat them out), would he really choose the basement dwellers over the Yankees just for a few million? Maybe he would, but the Nationals can’t count on that.

      Werth wasn’t going to get close to that kind of deal anywhere else, so this is the only way the Nationals could surely get a marquee free agent.

      • ROBTEN says:

        Werth wasn’t going to get close to that kind of deal anywhere else, so this is the only way the Nationals could surely get a marquee free agent.


        The problem is that a team like the Nationals is caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they want to become contenders quickly and at least part of that is being able to attract free agents to your franchise. On the other hand, they’re not currently contenders so attracting free agents means having to overpay. It may be the case that they were in contact with Crawford or other free agents and they wouldn’t consider playing in D.C. since they have the sense that they may be able to get similar contracts from currently more competitive franchises.

        Werth is an overpay, sure, but it signals to other free agents that the Nationals are serious players in the market now. Of course, there is an additional problem in that they can’t get cheap now, since Werth is not enough by himself to compete in the NLE going forward. This plan only works if you are willing to continue to spend money in the free agent market.

        • Evilest Empire says:

          The Nationals also need their big FA investments to yield a substantial ROI in order to make it worth their while. They’ve committed elite-talent money to the entirety of a good-but-not-elite player’s decline years.

          There are simply better opportunities to implement this same overpay strategy with other FAs.

          • ROBTEN says:

            This is a good point. The need for teams like the Nationals to get a strong ROI is important because they cannot as easily absorb the cost if the deal goes south.

            The problem is if you are the Nationals and want to make a splash on the market two things have to happen: you have to have the money to pay free agents and the free agents have to want to play for your team.

            In the 1980s, for instance, there were stories about free agents not wanting to play for the Yankees. So, even if you have the money, and win a lot of games, if no one wants to come to your team it doesn’t matter.

            I totally agree that this was an overpay, but if you’re going to try to speed up your process of becoming a contender through the free agent market–which might not be a wise idea either–it might require an overpay in the beginning. Although it’s a bad contract, it should prove valuable for the first few years of the deal, during which time I assume the Nationals hope some of their young players develop and they can attract additional free agents. The key is that if you go this route of building through free agency you just have to be willing to keep spending money.

            • Evilest Empire says:

              Yup. But how appealing will the Nationals be to free agents if Werth is slowing down or hobbled in a couple years, and he’s impeding the franchise from making other big deals because the marginal wins gained don’t warrant it?

              Werth is just too risky. They could’ve landed someone younger and/or better than Werth who would’ve been a bigger attraction to other FAs in the future. Why not make a big splash next year with Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzales? Fielder in particular seems like he’ll go to the highest bidder, no questions asked. We know they were right up there with the Tex bidding, they can offer a $150M deal depending on the FA and get SOMEBODY better than Werth.

              • ROBTEN says:

                I agree. I am not suggesting that I think the contract is a good idea. A significant amount has to go right for this strategy to work and it might not have been the right year to undertake such an approach. I’m just trying to figure out the thought process that goes into making such an offer. As I said, I’m guessing that they decided that this was the year to enter the market and, perhaps, they found that they could get no one else but Werth to consider playing for them and they had to overpay to do so. However, it certainly might have been a better strategy to wait, as it could all turn into a “Natinals” situation very, very quickly.

                • Evilest Empire says:

                  Yeah. Its going to be interesting to see how the team goes from here. Like you’re saying, they definitely need to make some other supplemental long-term acquisitions between now and when Harper/Strausberg arrive to make this kind of move pay off.

  24. Jesus Montero's Brain says:

    I <3 it
    Poor Bostonians

  25. Kiersten says:

    So judging by this, Crawford should be getting… 10 years?

  26. ZZ says:

    The Red Sox really are delusional.

    They are obsessed with getting exact dollar for dollar value, but that is just not the way free agency or baseball works in the real world especially with revenue skyrocketing the past 10 years.

    To make matters worse, inn the long run they often end up spending more resources to make up for these type of draw the line in the sand mistakes.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      If only they had the resources of big market teams.

    • Carcillo says:


    • Big Stein says:

      yet they consistently overpay for mid level free agents like Drew, Rentria, lackey, Dice, etc.

      But they strangely play hardball with top shelve talent.

    • bexarama says:

      Exactly. Look, I think they’re a smart organization and sometimes taking a hard line works. But they’re obsessed with “winning” every trade/free agent deal. AdGon is worth Tex money. Tex was worth the money they weren’t willing to pay him two years ago.

      That said I’m not going to kill them for not offering Jayson Werth this deal because it is absolutely ridiculous.

      • Evilest Empire says:

        Yeah, this contract is definitely an outlier. I thought something like 5/$75M would have been aggressive enough to win it, and you’d still be crossing your fingers that years 3 – 5 work out.

        But Boston needed to get A-Gon done. He’s the type of guy The Red Sox can double-pay on.

      • ZZ says:

        I agree that you can’t kill them for matching this offer.

        The offer of 4 years though, if Sherman is right, is ridiculous. I am more commenting on what they offer and their expectations when they offer that.

        There is no way 4 years would get Jayson Werth.

  27. mike c says:

    awesome. i really kind of hope the yankees go out and try to get crawford now. suck it boston

  28. CS Yankee says:

    Where is Theo’s bridge?

  29. God bless him. The Nats may not be the greatest franchise right now, but it’s a 126 million smackeroos for a guy who will be 32 years old next May. Would you turn that down? I wouldn’t. I’ll play in Siberia for that cash. As A-Rod proved, you can take the big cash AND play for a winner down the road.

    • mike c says:

      the nats are an up and coming team though, if harper is what people think he is, and strasburg comes back, that’s a really nice core group to build around

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        Harper won’t be ready until a few more years and Strasbueh is going to lsoe a year of development in 2011. Their farm outside of Harper is only middle of the pack as well.

        Nats shouldn’t have bothered at all. They’re not a competing team until at least 2-3 years.

        Not with the Phillies and Braves there.

      • Gonzo says:

        I know the Nats team fairly well, and they needed to do something this year after losing Dunn. The fan base was chanting “Sign Adam Dunn” the last week of home games.

    • Evilest Empire says:

      No way Werth could turn that done, he must be the happiest man in the world right now. A late bloomer puts up 3 1/2 great but not elite seasons and gets a 9 digit deal that secures his family’s future for generations.

    • Zack says:

      I only blame players when they take the money then complain about the team losing.

      And Werth has made “only” 14m in his career so far – that 126m has more value compared to a 32 year old coming off a 50m+ contract.

  30. Kiersten says:

    I guess the Yankees aren’t the only team who bids against itself.

  31. Gonzo says:

    Adrian Gonzalez just upped his demands. He must be dying to hit the fast forward button one year.

  32. Zanath says:

    Wow, what the hell? Seven years at that price for a player who has only been productive in a band box? Why didn’t they pay Adam Dunn that?

    • Gonzo says:

      I think the Nats’ front office was afraid of how Dunn would age. At least that was the word that leaked.

      • Zanath says:

        Hm I guess that makes a bit of sense…but if you are going to overpay, why not spend it on somebody better than Jayson Werth? He’s incredibly overrated.

        • Gonzo says:

          I guess with Willingham coming off injury, they didn’t want him or anyone else switching to RF. RF has been a hole for the Nats this year. I agree, they should have made a run at Cliff Lee, but an extra $5mm a year isn’t chump change.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      124 wRC+ career away isn’t that bad. FWIW he has a 307/.390/.580 line in Washington.

  33. Mr Moss says:

    Redsox were never interested in the overated Werth…Ryan Kalish is a future MVP – Peter Gammons

  34. First Time Poster says:

    Realistically, how much can this effect CC’s contract? I can’t see them getting that much more than 7/126. It does not seem as if this deal will raise the ceiling of the contract by much, but will raise the floor substantially.

    I assume that 7/126 was probably what was the expect contract for CC… it is probably around 7/140 now. It would be harder for CC’s agent to justify him getting a Tex deal than the bidding team to argue that the Werth deal was an overpayment.

  35. Mike HC says:

    I don’t know if this deal is an aberration because Washington was desperate to land someone in free agency finally, or only a small glimpse of what is about to come with Crawford and Lee. Gotta love the off season.

  36. CS Yankee says:

    Werth got his ring and now can plan his vacations in early October and take his new G6 to get there.


  37. Poopy Pants says:

    But I thought most of the people here thought Werth sucked and wasn’t worth a big contract? Now Theo’s an asshole for not signing him to a bad contract?

    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      No it takes away a great option for Boston who fit their needs perfectly. Boston dodged a long term bullet on this one, but it makes their team worse for the next couple of years.

    • Zack says:

      1. Who said he sucked? People said he’s good, but he’s 32, had major surgery on both knees, and has a Boras for an agent. So giving him 5+ @ 18m and trading Swisher isn’t a good use of resources.
      2. Nationals giving him that contract doesn’t mean he’s worth that contract
      3. It’s a pattern of the Sox offering years that aren’t going to be accepted.

    • I Voted for Kodos says:

      Has anyone actually said that Theo’s an asshole for not giving him a big contract? Most seem to be acknowledging that it’s a large overpay.

      People just seem to be amused that Boston lost out on two of their top targets in the span of 3 hours.

      • Poopy Pants says:

        References to him jumping off a bridge insinuates that he fucked up. He didn’t fuck up. He didn’t over pay for someone he shouldn’t have.
        The over-the-top homer-ism/douchiness on this site is very unattractive and brings out the devil’s advocate in me.

        • Esteban says:

          Do you really think there is more homerism/douchiness on RAB than on other Yankees blogs? Sure some jokes get played out, but if the comments really bother you, you have other options, right?

        • bexarama says:

          He didn’t fuck up for not offering this contract, not at all. That said, he’s probably not pleased Werth isn’t out there for his team when he was an excellent fit for his team. I think that’s fair to say.

        • ZZ says:

          References to him jumping off a bridge insinuates that he fucked up.

          Actually it doesn’t. This is actually a very simple minded way to look at it.

          Many of the jumping off the bridge references are not necessarily because Theo fucked up. It is simply because he lost out on a player that the Red Sox targeted and to a level need. Additionally, this contract for Werth drives up the price substantially for Carl Crawford, the Red Sox other OF target.

          The options for the Red Sox are closing and that is why Theo is in a really tough position. They didn’t get the a player they wanted and their other option is going to be even more expensive and difficult to acquire as a result of this deal.

          You are really bad at this devil’s advocate thing.

        • Sweet Dick Willie says:

          He didn’t over pay for someone he shouldn’t have.

          While I agree that the Nats appear to have overpaid for Werth, Theo has to judge the market.

          By his failing to sign AG and only offering Werth 4 years, there seems to be a disconnect there.

          I certainly don’t believe that Beltre is worthy of a 5 year deal, but I bet the market says otherwise.

          So Theo has some hard decisions to make. Will he overpay (that is, pay the current market price) for Beltre, or will he move Scutaro to 3B, give the SS job to Lowrie and hope for the best?

        • deadrody says:

          Sorry, but offering Werth 4 years was a major low ball offer. I don’t think anyone here believes the Sox should have offered Werth 7 years and $126 million. But they should have done better than 4 years.

          And Sox fans are massive douchebags, so bummer for them.

        • Kiersten says:

          Guys, don’t be a Yankee homer on a Yankee blog.

      • Esteban says:

        Don’t worry about Mr. Pants. He just likes to criticize posters on RAB and mixes in a decent point every other week or so.

  38. Evilest Empire says:

    Who right now is in the Adrian Beltre race besides Boston? The Angels would definitely make sense but I haven’t really heard any team’s names surrounding Beltre besides the A’s – who just dropped out – and the BoSox. The Red Sox need to lose out or majorly overpay on him.

    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      Oakland and LA…probably another team.

    • bonestock94 says:

      Angels vs RedSox on Beltre and Crawford at this point, unless the AGon thing comes back to life.

      • Jimmy McNulty says:

        After the Werth deal I’m pretty sure that trade won’t get done. Chicago, Atlanta, Texas, LA, and other teams all need a first basemen…Hoyer can’t possibly be so stubborn and stupid that he’d only deal Adrian to Boston.

        • Evilest Empire says:

          Heyman is tweeting that the trade might be done without an extension.

          Hoyer said if he can’t do the trade with Boston than he won’t explore any more options. I think that’s because he doesn’t want this to be an on going saga with a franchise player, and because there’s nothing wrong with holding on for him coming into the season, so you don’t want to create bad blood with the player if it comes down to that.

          • Jimmy McNulty says:

            Bad blood? Who gives a shit. He’s leaving next season, why trade him to Boston but no where else? What he wants to give his old master a leg up on the competition? There’s plenty of teams that could offer him a very attractive package, like Atlanta could offer Freeman/Arodys/something else, and easily top Boston’s offer and provide assistance going into next season. His job isn’t to keep a player who is leaving in a year anyway happy, his job is to field a team that can win.

            • Reggie C. says:

              Arodys Vizcaino and Freddie Freeman is pretty damn comparable to the Kelly-Rizzo front-pieces. ATL needs a power hitter to protect Heyward.

              • Jimmy McNulty says:

                Except Freeman annihilated AAA as a 20 year old, and Vizcaino at least has upside, if not injury issues. Rizzo’s good but, he’s a first basemen with mediocre contact and walk rates and good but not great power. What is it, opposite day around here?

                • Evilest Empire says:

                  But we don’t know what offers have already been fielded, or if Hoyer already pushed the issue enough that he had everyone’s final offers. The Boston deal may have been the only acceptable enough haul.

                  Or it could just be a ploy to let other clubs know that any other offers must be VERY serious.

                  There is a certain level of respect that you give to a superstar player like A-Gon though. They’ve already shipped him off to get a physical and go through contract negotiations with a team. You don’t dangle a guy like Gonzales up and down like a yoyo as trade bait the entire off-season.

                  • Jimmy McNulty says:

                    You’re right, they could just be trying to get leverage. However, if you’re making an offer for Adrian Fucking Gonzalez I’m pretty sure it’s a serious offer

    • bexarama says:

      Baltimore’s supposedly in on him.

  39. bonestock94 says:


  40. Avi says:

    I’d like to personally thank the Nationals for giving Jason Werth the craziest contract in sports history. Adrian Gonzalez has to be doing back flips right now and this definitely makes it tougher for the Red sox to sign him if they trade for him.

  41. bonestock94 says:

    Worst days ever for Red Sox fans

    1. Game 6 1986 WS
    2. Game 7 2003 ALCS
    3. 12/5/2010?

  42. Avi says:

    The Werth contract is the kinda deal that “ruins baseball” and makes everything go out of whack with salaries. Much more so than say 25M a year for Cliff Lee..

  43. Mike R says:

    And come to think I thought there would never be an outfielder who got that overpaid after Jason Bay. If Werth is worth 18 Million a year I do NOT want to know the price tag on Lee or Crawford.

  44. bonestock94 says:

    Kinda ironic, 7/126 is the same as Vernon Wells’ contract.

    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      And Zito’s.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Heh. Mike Rizzo is hoping for different results. At least Werth’s good enough to be the feature hitter of a respectable lineup. Didn’t Wells only have that 1 big year? IIRC, the Wells contract was probably a bigger leap of faith.

  45. Avi says:

    I’m Sorry. If you play Major League baseball and your agent isn’t Scott Boras, you’re an utter fool.

    • Kiersten says:


      Although Casey Close isn’t a bad choice.

      • Avi says:

        Casy Close is the biggest reason Jeter is under contract for three years at a reduced salary while arod is under contract for SEVEN years at an increased salary.
        Opt out clause in Arod’s deal..

        • I Voted 4 Kodos says:

          A-Rod got that deal because Hank and Hal stepped in to negotiate. Cash was ready to let him walk.

        • Kiersten says:

          No, the biggest reason Jeter is under contract for three years at a reduced salary is because of increased age and reduced skills.
          The reason A-Rod is under contract for seven years at an increased salary is because Hank Steinbrenner is a moron.

    • Evilest Empire says:

      He’s good on his player’s first big splash deals. He’s overplayed his hand a couple times lately on some 2nd go-arounds, like Varitek turning down arb in ’08 or Damon last year.

  46. Hughesus Christo says:

    ARod still has the worst individual contract in pro sports, but his deal doesn’t affect the overall MLB market. Jayson Werth deals ruin baseball.

  47. bottom line says:

    “Hoyer can’t possibly be so stubborn and stupid that he’d only deal Adrian to Boston.”

    Unless he’s still working for Theo.

    San Diego is notoriously laid back. But they gotta be brain-dead there to sit for what Hoyer has done and said. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Theo convinces his dimwit counterpart to accept just two prospects since AG won’t sign.

  48. Jerome S says:

    “Washington Nationals: Garbage + Jason Werth”

  49. Scotcher says:

    If Werth gets 126.. wow.. Washington will be in deep with Zimmerman.

  50. Andrew S. says:

    I went to school in San Diego… Californians, in general, are effing morons. The only people who even care about the Padres seem like the guys who were around for Dave Winfield/Tony Gwynn. Even when the Padres were playing well this year, no one cared…

    Anyway, this is basically an early Xmas present for Yankees fans… No V-Mart, no A-Gon… no chance of winning the division? :-)

  51. AndrewYF says:

    I don’t see how an outfielder sets the market for a starting pitcher.

    The Lee bidding only starts at 6 years if there are teams willing to go that high at the start. Seems to me that the Yankees are the only team willing/able to afford 6 years of Lee.

    So, really, this has no bearing on Cliff Lee whatsoever, because he and Jayson Werth are two completely different players with completely different markets.

    Now, if you said the bidding for Crawford now starts at 7 years, you’d have a valid point.

  52. I Am Not The Droids You're Looking For (is off to masterstroke myself) says:

    Wowweeweeewow. Poor Nats. This will get very ugly in years 3-7. Takes the heat off the Zito contract a tad!

    I’d hate to be a Sawx fan today. Scratch that. I would hate it every day.

  53. Rick says:

    Love the Stark tweet that said Boras didn’t even shop this offer around because it was so far beyond every other team

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