A Jayson Werth Article Without a Pun in the Headline

In the age of Twitter, rarely do transactions surprise us anymore, as deals are rumored for days or weeks ahead of becoming official. Well, today, we got an old school surprise, as Jayson Werth has apparently agreed to terms with the Washington Nationals. Yes, the Nationals.

Despite expected heavy interest from Boston and Detroit among others, it appears that Washington has swooped in and stolen Werth away from the higher profile clubs. The Nationals are going to use Werth to replace Adam Dunn‘s bat in the line-up, and interestingly, they should expect to see little or no change from making that switch.

Despite Dunn’s superior offensive reputation, Werth and Dunn have been really similar hitters over the last four years. By wOBA:

2007 – Dunn, .399; Werth, .385
2008 – Dunn, .383; Werth, .382
2009 – Dunn, .394; Werth, .387
2010 – Dunn, .379; Werth, .397

Both are high walk, high strikeout sluggers, and while Dunn has a bit more power, Werth makes a bit more contact and is a better baserunner. And, of course, Werth is actually a good defensive outfielder, while Dunn is, well, not.

So, swapping Dunn out for Werth makes the Nationals a better team. If their contracts were equal, this would be an obvious win for Washington. But, oh, are their contracts not equal. Dunn got $14 million per year for four years from Chicago, while Werth got $18 million per year for seven years from Washington. The Nationals are now hoping and praying that the $126 million contract – last given to Vernon Wells and Barry Zito – is not a sign of things to come.

How good would he have to be in order to justify that deal from a market rate standpoint? Well, if we estimate his current value as about a +4.5 win player (slight drop-off from his prior three years due to age) and the price for a win at about $5 million this winter, using the same 5% annual inflation assumption/guess that we employed with Adrian Gonzalez yesterday and 0.5 WAR decrease per year for aging, we’d get his value over the next seven years to be $118 million – a little less than what he actually got. In order to get to the $126 million figure, we’d have to bump annual inflation up to almost 8 percent per year.

That’s a very optimistic projection for where the market is headed, but it also reflects the fact that the Nationals had to outbid other teams in order to get Werth to play for a team not expected to win for a couple of years. While it is significantly more than he was originally expected to get, it is not the drastic overpay that it appears to be on the surface.

That’s all market rate analysis, however. There is a larger question to be explored, and that is whether a team in the Nationals position should actually be paying market rate for a premier free agent when it appears that the rest of their roster won’t be capable of helping him make the playoffs for at least a couple of years. We’ll explore that issue in a separate post.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Alex Poterack
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Alex Poterack
5 years 7 months ago

The other question, which I’ve seen a lot of other people leaping to on Twitter and elsewhere, is what does this do to Carl Crawford’s contract? He was already generally expected to get a bigger deal than Werth; will this still be the case?

JRoss
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JRoss
5 years 7 months ago

Werthless

John
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John
5 years 7 months ago

It could be that Werth’s contract is going to kick off the inflation that allows that contract to be worth something? I’m not sure if that makes sense in economics, but I do imagine a bigger contract coming for Crawford. Otherwise, why would execs be so upset?

Matty Brown
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Matty Brown
5 years 7 months ago

I hope this entices Cliff Lee to sign with the Natinals as well. I want to see them competitive for some reason, and I am Canadian.

Person
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Person
5 years 7 months ago

My first reaction to the Werth signing was to shake my head for 5 minutes. But If they do this, I will be OK with the deal. Only because if you’re going down a craphole, might as well go down in spectacularly convincing fashion.

pirate
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pirate
5 years 7 months ago

probably because they are the expos

Matty Brown
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Matty Brown
5 years 7 months ago

duh! I didn’t even realize that. That must be the reason for my subconscious fanfare of the Natinals.

fredsbank
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fredsbank
5 years 7 months ago

lol cliff lee with the nats? where are you getting your drugs and will you share with the rest of the world?

Person
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Person
5 years 7 months ago

Well, my assumption was to get Lee you give him something like 5Y 200M – and if they did this for Werth, why not that for Lee? Fail spectacularly. And even better if you offer 10Y 200M to Crawford.

Matty Brown
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Matty Brown
5 years 7 months ago

It actually is not that farfetched…they have long been associated with Lee and are still to this very day rumoured to be one of the top 4 suitors.

and No, I will not share my Jeffrey’s

jss
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jss
5 years 7 months ago

Do the nats lose a draft pick for this?

Lance W
Member
5 years 7 months ago

They lose their second-round pick instead of their first.

kbertling353
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kbertling353
5 years 7 months ago

I don’t think they lose anything. Philly gets a supplemental pick, though.

The Typical Idiot Fan
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

You’re both right. Philadelphia will get Washington’s second round pick and a supplemental first round pick.

baty
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baty
5 years 7 months ago

Werth is 31 and he will be entering only his 3rd full seasons at the major league level.

Why on earth would you secure him at this rate until he’s 38?

Alireza
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

You mean his 7th full season? He wouldn’t be a free agent otherwise.

dte421
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dte421
5 years 7 months ago

No, he means his 2nd full season. Werth didn’t become a full time starter until 2008 when Victorino got hurt. He’d never played a full season before that, and even for parts of early 2008 he platooned with Geoff Jenkins.

baty
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baty
5 years 7 months ago

“Full” seasons… He didn’t break 130 games in a season til ’08 (when he was 29) and has been a regular since then. In Dave’s Dunn / Werth comparisons… Dunn played in almost 70 more games during that stretch.

Werth has had a peculiar 13 year career. I just don’t think he’s garnered this much long-term trust, and I don’t think being implicit with descriptions of his value is all that strange, considering how scattered his sample size is for a 31 year old (even though it’s been pretty consistent the last 2 and a half years).

schmenkman
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schmenkman
5 years 7 months ago

Werth had a slow start to his career due to injuries, but he now has almost the same career WAR as Jason Bay (22.2 vs. 22.9) and is 8 months younger.

Jeff
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Jeff
5 years 7 months ago

And would you dream of giving a 7 year contract to Bay right now ?

Kenny Ocker
Member
5 years 7 months ago

Hey Jeff, Werth’s body type is bound to age a lot better than Bay’s. But even still, I don’t necessarily condone this deal.

schmenkman
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schmenkman
5 years 7 months ago

Jeff — of course not. The contract is insane.

My only point is that you can’t just look at the fact that he’s only had 3 full years at age 31 and conclude that he’s not a very good player. He lost almost two full years in his mid-20s due to injuries and then had to re-establish himself, and in spite of that has now already caught up to Bay in terms of career WAR.

Among NL outfielders, he had the 3rd highest wOBA in 2009, and 2nd highest in 2010.

walt526
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walt526
5 years 7 months ago

Exactly.

The only thing that I like about this contract is that Brian Sabean wasn’t the one who offered it (as Giants fan).

AK707
Member
AK707
5 years 7 months ago

How does the projected switch from RF to LF (when harper comes along in a few years) affect Werth’s projection? He would be switching during what should be a defensive decline, so does that help?

Alireza
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5 years 7 months ago

Wouldn’t it make more sense to move Harper to LF if Werth can still play RF like he does? How about Werth in CF, where he is more than adequate?

Tom
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Tom
5 years 7 months ago

Don’t the Nationals have to significantly overpay for any prime free agent to play for them?

Scott Boras
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Scott Boras
5 years 7 months ago

Yep, while on the surface this deal looks incredibly awful they do have a very large market to grow in if they are even remotely successful. If Baltimore was not terrible maybe it wouldn’t be worth trying to get better, but given they have Strasburg and Harper they may as well attempt to get better so they don’t wind up having 10 more of the best prospects in the history of the universe.

Bill
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Bill
5 years 7 months ago

I remember when the Tigers were awful a few years ago and they had to significantly overpay for Mags and IRod. It worked out for them.

Elvis Elvisberg
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Elvis Elvisberg
5 years 7 months ago

It’s easy to forget now, post-K-Rod & Bay, but the Mets overpaying for Pedro definitely helped get them going too.

I still think this was a very bad deal for the Nationals– they’ll be a tiny bit better a team with Werth instead of Dunn, then as Werth ages & gets bad & they have more talent, he’ll be a white elephant.

200tang
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200tang
5 years 7 months ago

Why does it seem health issues aren’t being brought up by fangraphs lately? Berkman and now Werth…I really think this should be an issue when talking about a contract that locks up a player during his mid-30s and yet it’s not even mentioned.

philosofool
Member
Member
philosofool
5 years 7 months ago

I think this is just an implicit assumption when you’re talking about hitters over 30, or pitchers, period. Werth doesn’t have any special lingering health issues, so there’s just not much reason to mention the fact that, like every other player his age, there is a non-trivial chance that injury dramatically changes his development.

Jeff Zimmerman
Member
Member
5 years 7 months ago

One idea that has just floated out is that player’s WAR actually decreases more at age 34

http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/are_my_war_aging_numbers_not_aggressive_enough/

200tang say – I am working quite a bit this off season on health type issues, but unfortunately I am starting with starting pitchers (what I have found out that 25-29 are the key ages and don’t have any previous injuries if the pitcher want to say off the DL).

Luke in MN
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Luke in MN
5 years 7 months ago

Well, a 4.5 WAR average production over the contract sounds like it factors in age-related decline in production, but not at all missed time due to injuries. How many guys go 7 straight full seasons in their 30s? (Or their 20s for that matter?) Really if you get 6 full seasons – or even 5.5 – over a 7-year span you’re probably doing pretty well.

Big Oil
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Big Oil
5 years 7 months ago

Probably because FG writers can’t predict injuries in the future. Not all injuries are the same, furthermore; some are predisposed to getting them, while others are not but yet may still, nonetheless, be injured as a result of, for example, a wild pitch — no fault of the injured.

Justin
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Justin
5 years 7 months ago

Or jump on to home plate and pull a Kendry Morales.

Austin
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Austin
5 years 7 months ago

As I understand it, injuries are part of the 0.5 WAR/year decline that pops up when studying the career tracks of players. It does seem to add to the risk that the Nationals will lose a huge amount on this deal, but it doesn’t invalidate this valuation of Werth.

My first reaction to this deal was “Holy Jesus, that’s insane.” I never thought that Werth was going to get anything near so many years, because he doesn’t have the same extended track record of continued excellence that many players of his age possess. But somehow, even though he plays in Philadelphia, I feel like his abilities are still underappreciated, and maybe this is just as fair a deal as Holliday’s or something similar (not that those were really necessarily good deals, either).

chuckb
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chuckb
5 years 7 months ago

Berkman is signed to a 1 year deal. He’s hardly “locked up” the way Werth is. Signing him to a 1 year deal has very little downside, even if he is going to play the OF.

texasfan04
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texasfan04
5 years 7 months ago

Really, really bad decision by the Nationals. It’s sad b/c things were looking to turn around w/ the last two number one picks. If they spent the next few years budgeting about $15 million to acquire young talent, they have a group of players that could have been awesome in 3-4 years (especially if Strasburg and Zimmerman remain healthy).

This contract puts a ridiculous financial strain on their team for no good reason b/c they aren’t going to compete for at least 2-3 years. By that time, Werth will be 36 and this contract has a strong chance of really hurting their team’s chances.

Elliott
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Elliott
5 years 7 months ago

Werth is 30… In 2-3 years he will not be 36…
However yes, I agree with the principle of this article.

The Typical Idiot Fan
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

Werth was born 5-20-79. He’s 31. The Nationals are paying for his age 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, and 38 seasons.

MarkW
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MarkW
5 years 7 months ago

So, the Nats should just save their money and suck for 3-4 years?

Anon21
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Anon21
5 years 7 months ago

If it’s a choice between that and spending their money and then sucking for 3-4 years anyway, perhaps the fan base would be better served by reduced ticket prices or something…

MikeS
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MikeS
5 years 7 months ago

Yes because by spending this money they run a much bigger risk of missing out on building around Strasbourg, Harper and Zimmerman and sucking for a decade or more.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
5 years 7 months ago

I imagine that spreading this money out for a years among amateur free agents, draft picks, and a few supplemental pieces and then using it to help build around Strasburg, Harper, and Zimmerman 3-4 years for now is a better usage.

Jim M.
Member
Jim M.
5 years 7 months ago

“Yes because by spending this money they run a much bigger risk of missing out on building around Strasbourg, Harper and Zimmerman and sucking for a decade or more.”

Speaking as an Expos/Nats fan, I love the personnel move, don’t mind the average annual value (it’s high, but on a 3-4 year deal, it wouldn’t have been insane), but hate the length of the deal. I guess that’s pretty much par for the course. However, I have to debate the sarcastic stance taken here.

Ryan Zimmerman is a free agent after the 2013 season. If the organization hasn’t shown improvement (financial commitment to winning and/or on field performance) by the end of the 2013 season, he’s gone. While Zimm is the star right now, Strasburg, Harper, and others (Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Derek Norris?) will obviously lead the next crop of guys they hope will develop as well. Which is where we find the problem…….

It’d be great to see all of them flourish and turn the club into a winner. Is it likely that this will happen by the end of the 2013 season? As Strasburg will enter 2012 with less than a dozen starts under his belt and Harper has yet to play any pro ball outside of the Arizona Fall League, it’s not real likely that the players within the organization were going to have the team ready to contend (seriously contend… not push .500) in the next 2-3 years. If Zimm were to go and the Nats hadn’t made some kind of splash to bring other help in, the dominoes would quickly start to fall in the following years as Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, etc. start hitting free agency.

At some point, you have to stop building for five years down the line and build for the next 2-3 years. It’s frustrating that they had to overpay in terms of years for Werth to achieve that goal, but this signing is more likely to help them retain Zimmerman a few years from now than it is to hinder them. D.C. isn’t a small market, though they carried that mentality with them as they tried to rebuild the farm system that Omar Minaya destroyed.

I’m behind this signing, even though there are aspects that look terrible about it. I’m still lost as to what Rizzo was thinking when he held onto Dunn last July, though.

Winning Baseball = More Attractive Destination for both FAs and players you’re trying to retain

Winning Baseball = Higher Attendance & Stronger Revenue

Stronger Revenue = Better chance to retain your players as they start to hit free agency

7/$126 is crazy, but everyone’s overplaying the downside and ignoring the upside

Mike Savino
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Mike Savino
5 years 7 months ago

I’m intrigued at the market. For the past few winters, there has been very little veteran free-agent signing and a few years ago a guy like Werth would have expected to get like 3 years at like 10 mill per. Interesting with the shift. Especially with Omar Minaya out of the market and Brian Sabean/Ed Wade not going nuts.

joser
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joser
5 years 7 months ago

Brian Sabean/Ed Wade not going nuts.

….yet.

Jeff
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

Another silly deal from the Nationals. They would have been better off keeping Adam Dunn. Now they have to find a first baseman, who they will probably overpay for once again.

They don’t realize that they need pitching, not so much offense.

RobBob
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RobBob
5 years 7 months ago

Considering they were 13th in the NL in scoring last year, I’d say they definitely needed some help offensively.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
5 years 7 months ago

I mean, they were ranked that low with Dunn, Zimmerman, and Josh Willingham, so next year their big guns are going to be Zimmerman, Werth, and Willingham if Willingham is healthy. They’re not going to have Strasburg in 2010 so they really shouldn’t expect to jump from 69 wins up to .500, even, with this. It’s not going to pay big, immediate dividends in the win column. They’re hoping Werth is still worth $18 million in 2012 and 2013 and that they still can afford to add players else where. And that he’s not costing the chance to retain younger, better players in 2015 and 2016 with his $18 million hanging over them.

Steve
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Steve
5 years 7 months ago

Yes, with Pena, Lee, Konerko, Overbay, etc. on the market, where on earth are they going to find a 1Bman??

Jesse
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Jesse
5 years 7 months ago

For a team like washington whose dreams of winning combine getting harper and strasburg to peak together and getting value out of zim through continued production or a trade, locking down salary for seven years is a bad idea. period. Fingers crossed that the deal isn’t back-loaded. If its front loaded, they will have a much better chance of paying jayson werth a market value for his current production when he’s old. The nats don’t really need the flexibility now, but soon they’re going to need to talk extension for strasburg, zimmerman, and harper.

cpebbles
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cpebbles
5 years 7 months ago

You’re really crossing your fingers that the present-day value of the contract is even higher than it looks on the surface instead of lower?

Jesse
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Jesse
5 years 7 months ago

No, obviously the opposite. What i’m saying is that the nats can borrow money now for around 1%. Future costs of players may inflate, but the cash doesn’t look like its going to. If this contract started paying him say 10 million now and ramped up to twenty that would be foolish. It should pay him more for the early years when they don’t have strasburg or harper and are unlikely to win, and less when they need the extra cash.

cpebbles
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cpebbles
5 years 7 months ago

How is the free agent market going to inflate without inflation in the general economy? We know the total value of the contract. Any frontloading only increases the value of the contract, especially if the economy rebounds to the degree that MLB teams seem to be expecting.

Ryan
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Ryan
5 years 7 months ago

So what you’re saying, Dave, is that Jayson might be werth it?

Sorry.

23553
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23553
5 years 7 months ago

Everyone seems to be forgetting that the Nationals have 2 1st round picks this year, including the 6th. They could still get another good pitcher, and a good hitter next year.

cpebbles
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cpebbles
5 years 7 months ago

Yeah, because it’s the second round pick that we’re all in disbelief about…

Anon21
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Anon21
5 years 7 months ago

I don’t see how that significantly changes the calculus. Odds are that these two first round picks won’t be ready to play full seasons until 2014. So for the next three years, the Nats are paying big money to a dude who will not be supported by these hypothetical awesome picks. If the signing can be justified, it probably has to be justified without reference to next year’s draft.

Justin
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Justin
5 years 6 months ago

Losing Dunn cost 2nd and supplemental and added 1st with little loss in the lineup and greatly increasing the overall defense of team when LaRoche took over at 1B and Dunn’s horrific defense disappeared.

jklender
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jklender
5 years 7 months ago

Or that his contract is a true National Treasure?

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
5 years 7 months ago

I’m not sure how to measure this exactly, but by making the Nationals a better team, I’d think there is some future value in attempting to sign future free agents. As is stated in the post, because the Nationals are who they are, they had to overpay for Werth, if they continue to stink, they’ll continue to have to overpay for free agents. Not saying I like the signing, as I think there were other ways to go about building a contender in Washington, but I’d at least venture to guess this played a part in the decision to sign him.

Paul
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Paul
5 years 7 months ago

But how will they be able to afford more free agents, even if they do find playing for the Natinals more appealing?

RobBob
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RobBob
5 years 7 months ago

They’ve got lots of room for payroll. They are still well under where there were last year, and they really have the financial wherewithal to bump the payroll up at least 10 and probably 15 mill this year, more next year. The Nats aren’t hurting for cash.

Justin
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Justin
5 years 6 months ago

The Learners are the richest owners in all of baseball, basically being the greatest real estate developer in one of the top three most expensive real estate spots in the country. There is very much a Yankee like effect likely to take place over the next few season which is helpful as the last two years of this contract will be rough. That said, if he can hold on two his 3yr average of 5WAR for 5 seasons then it will balance well.

John
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

Werth turns 32 in 5 months… this deal is a joke. He will be almost 39 when it is done. Awful, awful deal. Years 1-3 of the deal will be fine Years 4-7 will look like Barry Zito #2.

Scout Finch
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Scout Finch
5 years 7 months ago

I’m thinking this could be Aaron Rowand #2. Only longer & more $$.

Why do big league clubs continue to play this game with players and their agents?

Players can only attain the value of these contracts if they avoid aging, injurious behavior, and somehow parlay the offensive production generated in a band box into a larger arena. I don’t get it. But I also don’t get the Tea Party.

Paul
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Paul
5 years 7 months ago

Yes, they overpaid, but Washington is one of the few markets that can confidently do so right now. The Beltway had the highest employment growth in the country over the past year, and in the past decade the growth in high level Beltway jobs has exploded. They had a really nice fan base to begin with (why else would Baltimore’s litigation attorney owner basically threaten a hunger strike over their move?). If you’re a Tea Party member, you might be raging about this, but if you’re a Nats fan expect for this to be one of a couple more big moves. I think the Nats just made the winter meetings really interesting, what with Grienke still out there and Desmond possibly in play as a start.

Austin
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Austin
5 years 7 months ago

Mike Rizzo had a couple of very interesting quotes at the press conference (I’m getting these from Federal Baseball’s article):

“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.”

“[Jim Riggleman] feels, like I feel that Jayson’s best days haven’t been had yet. We feel that this is a player who had a slower start as a major league player and is going to continue on and improve his skills in his future time in the big leagues.”

So evidently, yes, this is a move intended to let them win within the next few years, but like Dave, I’d argue that this is too soon to go out and get a player like this, given that their developing players aren’t really ready yet, and Werth will give them his highest production early, when they aren’t going to be winning. The second quote is, as far as I know, completely wrong – I believe I’ve read that historically, players who get late starts also have much rougher decline phases, which I think makes sense. Can anyone shed light on this?

Justin
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Justin
5 years 6 months ago

He has had 3 straight seasons of roughly 5WAR and plays RF, not CF. That is consistent enough to say he will likely stick with that for at least couple of years and could possibly have one or two really exceptional years that make the final 2-3 years tolerable. Werth will likely still be a stud in year 2-4 from now and will be very valuable to the franchise as the build around the core. He will diminish, but every powerhouse team has one or two contracts that is not fantastic. The point is that for the next 5 years they have RF taken care of and a solid bat in the lineup. Guys who hit 30HRs and grab 20SBs while hitting around .300 and playing solid defense are rare. His decline will come along, but there should still be a few of the tools that stick for some time.

Bobby Abreu is 5 years older at notched a WAR of 1.7-3.5 over the last 5 years without having much power to speak of. Dave Winfield was a similar build 6’6″ 220lbs and notched WARs between 2.0-5.5 with the 5.5 coming at age 38. Dave also have much less speed and less power than Werth. At age 41, Winfield posted a WAR of 4.3. Werth is 6’5″ 218lbs with considerably more power and speed.

Steve_in_MA
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Steve_in_MA
5 years 7 months ago

My question is, what’s the value of sending $18MM checks to the nursing home Werth will be residing in during years 6 and 7? And how many bases can Werth steal when he’s using a walker?

MarkW
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MarkW
5 years 7 months ago

The Nats know that they need pitching, so, does nearly every team in MLB. They outbid the Rockies for de la Rosa, who chose to stay in Colorado.

Other than overpaying to get Lee, what pitcher should the Nats go after?

Barkey Walker
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Barkey Walker
5 years 7 months ago

Pavano. That would be three top pitchers, about as much as any team can hope for. He’s the kind of pitcher who gives Clippard the night off.

David
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David
5 years 7 months ago

Kevin Millwood wouldn’t be a bad signing. if you can get him for like 1 year / $5-7 mil, it would be a good deal (he’s been worth over 2 WAR in 8 of the past 9 seasons). he’s pretty durable and while he tanked in the 2nd half of last season, so did a lot of Orioles players (notably Ty Wigginton).

of course Marquis was supposed to be pretty durable so who knows. the Nats could also try to trade for someone – I think Joe Saunders is available, for instance – but they’d have to trade some young players so it would be counterproductive. a salary dump would be much easier to get, but do the Nats really want Barry Zito or John Lackey or whatever? probably not.

MikeS
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MikeS
5 years 7 months ago

The last paragraph is the heart of the argument. Werth (especially at this price) is the last piece for a contender. This deal screams “please buy tickets even though we lost Dunn!” Yes, occasionally a team comes out of nowhere and surprises but more often than not this is the sort of deal that makes teams perennially bad instead of suddenly good.

BWOzar
Member
5 years 7 months ago

SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEAR!

Chris
Guest
Chris
5 years 7 months ago

I think its important to point out that the Nats definitely overpaid in years. 7 years is hardly justifiable but the 18mil a year is, I believe, actually lower than his value (especially given the recent free agent signings and extensions that indicate significant salary inflation over the next couple years).

I think most people expected werth to get a 5 year 100 mil contract. So if you look at this contract as a 5 year 100 million and a 2 year 26 million deal, it doesn’t look horrible. In 2016 and 2017, that 13 mil a year will probably be market value for a 2 WAR player given salary inflation. Assuming an average salary inflation of 10% (inflation has averaged 11% over last 20 years and 12 % for top 100 salaries), an 8 mil yearly contract now would be about 13 mil in after 2015.

So while its still a bad contract, its not horrendous. And its basically just a slight overpay for a team that has to overpay to get top free agents.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

I’m not sure the contract is the issue so much, as it is the “timing”, since I don’t think the Nats are in position to make a move toward competing now.

This same contract in 2013 (pretending Werth would be 31 in 2013), makes a lot more sense. Doing it now, when IMO they’re 2 or 3 years from really making a move toward competing is the confusing part.

If we make a list of the teams they have to “leap frog” to get to where competing really means competing, I don’t see Werth being the move that gets that done.

They could get the exact value of the contract from Werth over the full length of the contract, and it may not matter much in the standings. By the time they are really ready to compete, he could just be performing at league average (which might be fair value for performance). So, they’re going to pay for his best years when they can use his value the least.

Scout Finch
Guest
Scout Finch
5 years 7 months ago

Why do big league clubs continue to play this game with players and their agents?

Players can only attain the value of these contracts if they avoid aging, injurious behavior, and somehow parlay the offensive production generated in a band box into a larger arena. I don’t get it. But I also don’t get the Tea Party.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

The Nats are making a move to compete now?

Granted their pitching staff suffered through lots of injuries last year, but even healthy are they ready to make a run in the East?

I’m not seeing it, unless I’m blind and Jayson Werth is the difference between 2nd (Wild card) and 4th place in the East.

I also don’t agree with the years of the deal, but figure that was a concession the team had to make to get a deal done at all.

This is where I agree with the SFG signing veterans for low-year contracts. It allows them to see where they’ll be in regards to sustained competitiveness before going the long-term contract route. They didn’t just decide they’ll be competitive or wish they were competitive and make crazy signings to guys that will be “aged” during the second half of the deal.

D0nc0smic
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D0nc0smic
5 years 7 months ago

Yes the Nats overpaid, but it had to be done. They risked being totally abandoned by the fans, and the fans are where the money for these contracts comes from. DC is a big market that acts like a small market because the Nats suck. The Lerners are also the richest owners in baseball, they can afford to take losses for a few years in order to build a fanbase that can support a much higher payroll. I don’t think the young guys are as far off as everyone seems to think, Zimmerman is reaching is prime, and I think that both Strasburg and Harper will contribute in 2012. I think they pick up a serviceable first baseman and a middle of rotation arm before next season, then maybe try to get a big name pitcher next offseason and make a run in 2012.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

They risked being totally abandoned by the fans,

Strasburg is out in 2011, the fans’ lack of interest may have already occurred. I seriously doubt that Jayson Werth is what will bring the Nats fans to the ballpark.

The only thing that would likely bring the fans in if is Harper starts in RF.

I’m really trying to see the logic in this deal. Did they sign him because of the perceived name recognition he might have with NL East fans? Or by “signing a Philly” did they intend to signify that they were “making a move” and expecting people to buy into it?

Over the next 1-3 years, there have to be better OF opportuities than this one.

Maybe their viewing it as a gain for them and loss for the Phils, so the gap narrows. Doesn’t make sense to me, but …

erich
Guest
erich
5 years 7 months ago

/”The only thing that would likely bring the fans in if is Harper starts in RF.”

the only thing that brings fans in consistently is winning. werth has produced something like 15 WAR in the past 3 years. hate on the length of contract, absolutely, but don’t continue to underrate him. he improves the nats for the next 5 years.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

the only thing that brings fans in consistently is winning.

Yeah, like in Tampa, or Chicago …

You shouldn’t say “the only thing”, because that’s clearly not accurate nor applicable to all 30 teams.

erich
Guest
erich
5 years 7 months ago

/”The only thing that would likely bring the fans in if is Harper starts in RF.”

/”You shouldn’t say “the only thing”, because that’s clearly not accurate nor applicable to all 30 teams.”

Fair enough.

Let me put it in your parlance: The only thing that would likely grow the fanbase in DC has almost nothing to do with Harper playing RF next year. At this point, it has almost everything to do with putting a credible/winning product on the field.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

Okay.

When Strasburg pitched fans turned out like crazy … for a non winning team.

If Harper was in RF, people would pay attention and come to the games. At first it would be just out of curiosity, but if he played well, it would receive national coverage every single game.

I’m not saying it’s a good idea, only that people would watch.

Winning hasn’t helped TB, and losing doesn’t affect the Cubs. It seems that many teams pretty much field similar attendance numbers no matter what. To me, that means baseball fans are baseball fans. What the winning brings in is the casual fan. What the playoffs bring in are the suits.

In that regard it’s like hockey. During the season, the die hards are their every night. In the playoffs, all of the sudden your bos at work is going to the games. In the important playoff games your boss’s boss goes to the games.

My point is that even with Werth, they ain’t gonna win in 2011. That was made in counterpoint to the idea that Werth was brought in as talent or name recognition to put butts in the seats. $1 drafts will bring in more fans than jayson Werth. He’s neither a star nor the impact player that’ll lead the team to winning in 2011.

If Harper and Strasburg are in the lineup in 2012, fans will flock to the ballpark no matter what the team’s W-L record. Hell they’ll get more attention and exposure than some division winning teams.

But, I do agree that a winning team in the nation’s capital would be the best of both … lots of exposure and attendance.

Short
Guest
Short
5 years 7 months ago

This is a really good point that is easily missed by people outside the D.C. area. Nats fans are constantly wondering if ownership is serious about fielding a winner. A move like this strongly indicates that the team is serious about spending the money necessary to get players to fill the holes that aren’t being filled by youngsters. If the team can succeed in building a strong relationship with fans, they stand to gain significantly by increasing attendance and viewership due to their large market.

In 2012 the team can hope to have Strassburg back to join Zimmermann in the rotation, and Harper may be ready (as some phenoms are at 19) to join the team. No reason not to get while the gettings good and lock up a power bat for what could be a string of good years for the team.

However, you should take step back as a GM when you hear a player’s agent say he didn’t even check with other teams after getting your offer. No need to overpay just for the sake of overpaying.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

Nats fans are constantly wondering if ownership is serious about fielding a winner.

I think you can replace “Nats” with just about every team in baseball, with a few exceptions.

If signing Strasburg and Harper doesn’t signify to the fans that the team is serious about competing in the near future, then I am douvbtful that signing Werth does.

Maybe in the East Werth is seen as something of a “division changer” or something. Buth SS is out in 2011, BH won’t be here till 2012, why not wait to make a deal like this until more things are in place?

As it is, by the time SS and BH are ready to lead the nats to serous stuff, they may have too much of their money wrapped up in JW.

It’s probably not a bad deal ($M/WAR), while the timing and length may be curoius. I’m just not seeing anything special about Werth that another FA OF couldn’t provide after being signed next year or the year after, when the Nats have a better forecast of their situation.

Schu
Member
Schu
5 years 7 months ago

Anyone else find it extremely amusing that the Nats essentially already have a Jayson Werth clone in Josh Willingham and yet they are determined to move him because he’s too expensive?

Neil
Guest
Neil
5 years 7 months ago

Not really because that’s not what’s happening there at all. Willingham’s not the type of player to lock up, so it makes sense that they would listen to offers. I haven’t seen a shred of evidence they’re actively shopping him.

Schu
Member
Schu
5 years 7 months ago

It’s been all over mlbtraderumors that they are trying to shop him. And what do you mean he’s not the type you lock up long term? He has nearly identical wOBA numbers and is the same age as the guy they just handed a 7 year deal.

bflaff
Guest
bflaff
5 years 7 months ago

Josh Willingham is not a Werth clone unless your definition of clone is extremely broad, to the point where it doesn’t resemble what most people consider a clone.

Or to put it another way: Jayson Werth >>>>>>> Josh Willingham

Short
Guest
Short
5 years 7 months ago

Clone == same initials?

Preston
Guest
Preston
5 years 7 months ago

It seems pretty clear that the Nats view Jayson Werth as a better version of Raul Ibanez. Ibanez didn’t break 100 games until his 6th pro season (age 29). For whatever reason, his 30s have been far more productive than his 20s were. Now, Ibanez clearly was in decline last year as a 38 year old, and I’m sure the Nats are worried the same will happen to Werth, but if he is more able than the average player to maintain his current skills through his 30s, due to having fewer miles on his body, this has the potential to be a good deal for the Nats.

Werth’s body type also seems a decent bet to hold up reasonably well – he’s athletic, but doesn’t depend on his speed to be productive. When Harper arrives, he can move to left field, where he should still be at least an average defender even if he’s lost a step.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

Hold up, I just made the connection between the numbers ….

Matt Holliday’s contract: 120M/7y

Jayson Werth’s contract: 126M/7y

WAR over last 4 years …

Holliday: 26.1

Werth: 18.2

Holliday is 2 years younger.

Either inflation is a b!tch, or the Werth deal just dropped about 3 levels in quality from my perspective.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

Oops, Holliday is 0.5 years younger.

jdb
Guest
jdb
5 years 7 months ago

Holliday was 1.5 years younger when he signed. Mind you that I’m not defending the Holliday deal, but it helps to put into perspective the train wreck of the Nationals.

Oh, and Werth will likely account for more than 25% of the Nationals’ payroll. Good times, good times.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 7 months ago

I think the Holliday deal was a good one, both in terms of him producing at the expected rate over the duration of the contract, and by making the offense not totally dependent on Pujols … and giving AP5 more incentive to re-sign.

I don’t get the Werth signing at this point in time.

The Nats won’t know what kind of competitive position they’ll be in until at least 2012. In that regard it’s similar to my feeling on the Tulo contract. It might be fair in terms of WAR per $, but why now?

Bill
Guest
Bill
5 years 7 months ago

Yes, but Holliday was signing with one of the best teams in the NL this past decade. The Nats have to pay more to get players. Granted, the contract sucks, but it is reasonable to expect the Nats to have to overpay.

BlackSwan
Member
BlackSwan
5 years 7 months ago

Inflation is a bitch. You will continue to see Bernanke printing trillions of greenbacks as a backdoor tax on credit addicted Americans. However, you will see commodity prices and treasury bond interest rates rise which will drive down equities, driving us back into the seventies and reducing the net worth of even the rich. It will be a good time to buy stocks, but not baseball players.

Joe R
Guest
Joe R
5 years 7 months ago

It seems like long term stability wasn’t factored into this (like a 2 WAR guy might justify 1/10, 2/18, 3/24, etc). $18 mil a year to Werth seems, well, yikes.

pft
Guest
pft
5 years 7 months ago

Funny that Werth got more years than the Red Sox offered Adrian Gonzalez (shake head).

Good hitting OF’ers who can play good D are in short supply, and demand is high, so no surprise in the dollars. Nats needed to overpay in years because they are the Nats

The Nats can find a good hitting 1Bman at reasonable cost to replace Dunn, and if they do, their offense should be better in 2011.

Bookbook
Guest
Bookbook
5 years 7 months ago

Casey Kotchman won’t hang up if the Nats come calling.

By the way, using 4 years WAR to compare a player who has only been a regular for 3 is silly.

mockcarr
Guest
mockcarr
5 years 7 months ago

It’s an overpay, but so what? They have the money. Who are they able to spend it on? They’ve TRIED to overpay for other free agents this offseason already. After you’ve set the scouting and bonuses budge in place, you have the major league product to think about, which has been terrible for the last few years. At least Werth is athletic enough to project as an OF for the length of this contract. . Plenty of players have reportedly taken less to go someplace else the last few years, so Rizzo admitting the truth and getting the Lerners to pony up what it will take to get a good player is an excellent sign. Last year, they paid too much for Rodriguez and he played more than anyone expected and was roughly worth it. Last year they paid market rate for Marquis and got less than nothing. I remember a lot of complaints about how they overpaid for Dunn two years ago because of how his lousy defense takes back so much of his offense – now he’s worth more? It’s really too bad that this couldn’t be only four or five years, but that’s the price the Nats have to pay, either ridicule for not being able to sign any good free agents, or ridicule for spending too much on the commodity.

Actually, Pavano is the worst guy to give a long-term contract to, you can ask the Yankees about that.

Bill
Guest
Bill
5 years 7 months ago

Pavano is a different pitcher than the one the Yanks signed. Pavano’s injuries appear to be behind him. I’d sign him.

Lee
Guest
Lee
5 years 7 months ago

The Nats are trying to compete in 2012, and win the division in 2013. What’s the difference if they were to make this move next year as opposed to now? He surely has some star power, and “keep the fans interested” value until then. I’m not seeing this as the worst deal in the world, or even a bad deal as many are making it out to be. Sure, they don’t exactly need him right away to win the world series, but they will absolutely need him soon. Why not give the fans something to get excited about while you put a major horse in your stable for a year down the road?

And another more subtle reason: Let Zimmerman know you are willing to spend to contend. The last thing you want is to lose him in 2 years. Show him you’re committed, and that he should be a Nat for life.

I think this is a great pick up, and worth every penny.

grapesoda83
Guest
grapesoda83
5 years 7 months ago

“There is a larger question to be explored, and that is whether a team in the Nationals position should actually be paying market rate for a premier free agent when it appears that the rest of their roster won’t be capable of helping him make the playoffs for at least a couple of years.”

I think the main issue is, that the Nats have yet to realize that the organisation should be in rebuilding mode. Some of their recent moves (Wang, Morgan, Rodriguez, Marquis and now Werth) indicate that their front office is somehow convinced they are just a fiew pieces short of contending.

Jon Ullman
Guest
Jon Ullman
5 years 7 months ago

I don’t understand how you can justify this contract. Your argument assumes that Werth will continue being a 4.5 WAR player for the next 7 years. Yes, if Werth hits like he did this year every season until he’s 38 then this probably wont be a big overpay. If Werth is human and declines or gets hurt this contract will look ridiculous.

Jordan
Guest
Jordan
5 years 7 months ago

actually it assumes he does 4.5 this year and then drops by 0.5 for every year after that

Justin
Guest
Justin
5 years 6 months ago

No, right now $5M/1WAR…Werth has been worth $22.9,22.0,20.0M the last three seasons. He will likely to continue to be worth more than the 18M/yr for 3-5 seasons which makes him not being worth the 18M/yr the last two seasons worth while. All in all, the money adds up and contenders with money put players on their team that are All-Star caliber. Jayson Werth hit .296/27HR/106R/85RBI/13SB without being in the heart of the lineup or in other words with around 550 ABs, when he moves into the 3 slot and tops 625ABs with Zimmerman behind him then his average of 4.5WAR will likely increase. When contention is insight, Werth will be worth the money and a major contributing part of the puzzle.

WIll
Guest
WIll
5 years 7 months ago

No, the phillies get a supplemental pick because the nats draft choice is too high

Brandon Heikoop
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

I’d really like to see information regarding the -0.5 WAR/year for aging. It’s getting used a lot and I’m not familiar with this data point.

Cockblowers Anonymous
Guest
Cockblowers Anonymous
5 years 7 months ago

Werth is more werthless than his clone from the WWE, Edge.

Jack Be Nimble
Guest
Jack Be Nimble
5 years 7 months ago

Jayson’s Net Werth just seriously increased.

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