Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nats sign Werth for 7 years [updated]

ORLANDO -- Boy, did I pick the wrong time to be on an airplane.

I just landed in Orlando, turned on my BlackBerry and was greeted with a flood of emails, including a formal press release from the Nationals announcing they've signed outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year contract.

Obviously, more to come...

UPDATE AT 5:41 P.M. -- The contract is for a staggering seven years and $126 million, far and away the largest deal in Nationals or Expos history. Werth, who will turn 32 in May, is now signed with Washington through the 2017 season.

He hit .296 with 27 homers, 85 RBI and a league-leading 46 doubles last season with the Phillies and drew interest from some of the biggest spenders in baseball, including the Red Sox and Tigers. Those teams, though, weren't willing to offer more than a five-year deal. The Nats, clearly, blew those offers out of the water.

As for Werth's position on the field, it sounds like he'll be penciled in for right field. He's considered a strong defensive outfielder and has even played 104 games in center field in his career. For the moment,
the Nats' outfield alignment would be Josh Willingham in left, Nyjer Morgan in center and Werth in right. Willingham, of course, could be a trade target. And Morgan's spot is not secure.

Down the road, with Bryce Harper someday expected to play right field, we could see some movement, whether that means Werth in left or center fields or even first base, or Harper at another outfield position.

Mike Rizzo is apparently speaking to reporters at the Winter Meetings headquarters at Disney right now. I'll be sure to pass along more later...

UPDATE AT 7:50 P.M. -- Just got word that Jayson Werth will be holding a conference call at 8:15 p.m. I'll post some of his quotes here as soon as it wraps up, so check back...

UPDATE AT 8:40 P.M. -- Conference call just ended. I'm transcribing the interview right now and will post thoughts from Werth as I go...

JAYSON WERTH
On the signing: "Obviously I'm excited to be part of an organization like the Washington Nationals. The Lerner family is committed to winning. We've got a great GM in Mike Rizzo. He's definitely committed to bringing in quality players and guys that can make a difference. I'm excited to be a part of all that."

On the Nats' short- and long-term prospects: "I think in a short time, we're going to surprise a lot of people. I've been given a lot of assurances by the Lerner family and by Mike that we're going to go after some guys that are going to make a difference. They're going to put this team to where it needs to be. I'm definitely on board with that. It's exciting. I don't know exactly what or how to say the emotions I'm going through right now, other than it's an exciting time in my life. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

What did Lerners and Rizzo say to convince you? "First of all, they've done a great job of acquiring talent through the draft. I think everybody saw what a game changer Stephen Strasburg was last year. Obviously he fell upon some hard times and is going through Tommy John surgery, but I think being in the game as long as I have, I've played with so many guys that have gone through that and have come back stronger than they were before. He's going to be even better than he was before, if that's believable. They've done a great job. The Harper kid is coming, and he's one of the better talents in the game. I'm looking forward to getting to play with a talent like that. ... They gave me assurance that they're going to go out and get the type of talent that we're going to need to be competitive and to win. That was one thing that's very important to me: Winning. I went to Philadelphia in 07, I signed as a free agent because I said we're going to win. I wanted to go somewhere where we were going to win. I went to Philadelphia and we won. I signed here in Washington with the same aspirations. I signed here to win, and I believe we're going to win. It's going to be a challenge. It's going to take some time, but that was one thing the Lerner family and the organization was willing to give me: time to win and to help this thing along. I'm looking forward to to the task. I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's something I'm passionate about. I love the game of baseball. I come from a baseball family, and I think I'm in the place that is very suited for me."

Were Nats on your radar before you met with Rizzo and Lerner? "Yeah, absolutely. About the same time I hired Scott [Boras] was about the same time we started talking about the Nationals and possible suitors. Obviously the Phillies had opportunities to sign me long-term, and when that didn't look like that was going to happen, it was about the same time I hired Scott. So right off the bat we were talking about possible suitors for me through free agency, and the Nationals were a team that was at the top of the list because Scott had a relationship with the Lerner family and the organization. He knew how competitive they were and where they were going. He was able to kind of fill me in on what they were all about. They were there from the beginning, I'd say."

"Camaraderie goes a long way in this game. I think that's evident in Philadelphia where I'm coming from. To just spend money wildly on people is not the point. What we're trying to do here is create a situation where we have an atmosphere of winning and we have the guys that we know we can win with. I think that's something the organization, Mike and the Lerner family are all definitely on board with."

What will you do to prove your worth to fans? "I've never been anybody but who I am. I'm going to be myself day in and day out. Every day I'm going to play hard, I'm going to play the game the right way. I'm going to do the things in the clubhouse and off the field that maybe are overlooked in this game but more often than not create a winning atmosphere. I'm on board with the organizational goals and where I see this organization going in the upcoming years. To answer your question, I don't have to prove anything to anybody but myself and my teammates."

On the importance of his first meeting with Rizzo and the Lerners: "I don't know how important that meeting was to me per se. Coming into the whole process, I've been given a very good evaluation by Scott Boras and his company for who the Nationals were, who the Lerners were more importantly, and what their aspirations and goals were as an organization. I think the interview we had out there was more of a situation for them to get to know me. I think I was sold on their direction early on. But it definitely was good to put faces with names and just kind of get a good idea of who these people were and listen to what they had to say and the direction they were going."

How much did knowing Riggleman [with Dodgers] play a role? "I would say it helped. Any time you go to war with somebody who's your manager, it helps to know who that person is. Jim's a very honest, straightforward guy. He's a hard-nosed baseball guy. He's an old-school guy. Having relations with him in the past helped, I would say, but there were a lot of things other than just Jim. He's a good guy, and I had relations with him. But there's a lot that goes into this decision."

96 comments:

NatsJack in Florida said...

OK JayB... How are you spinning this one?

Anonymous said...

!

joemktg said...

should've taken an earlier flight

Anonymous said...

is this nats way of saying adrian gonzalez should wait before we have a chance to bid on him next year?

Anonymous said...

Bad deal but at least the Nationals will be improved next year.

Big Oil said...

7/126. First blush...I don't like the $$$ vis a vis years on the contract. Bullet pointed:

-Werth is something of a late bloomer
-but, this is also gives us less evidence of long-term consistent performance
-aging curve!
-Dunn signed for less than 1/2 as much for less time
-Nats probably have a premium to pay since they have been cellar-dwellers
-Bernie to center?
-Morse to 1B?

And finally an irrational thought:

-sign Beltre and ask Zim to move to SS, move Desi and 'spects for a bona fide arm? (HAH!)

Sam said...

7 years, $126 million is way too much. Yet, I still cant help being happy. The Nationals haven't signed any big FAs, so it is really cool that it happened.

Still, 37-year old worth making $18 million is not something I care to imagine right now.

joemktg said...

Werth gets a LT deal. Over/under for Zim getting a Tulo deal: April, 2011.

Tank said...

7 years is way too long. I understand that Nats have to overpay, but do it with money, not years.

Matt said...

Fangraphs just posted a piece arguing that this is a lot less of an overpay than it seems. Of course, the long deal does mean a bit of risk.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/a-jayson-werth-article-without-a-pun-in-the-headline/

Anonymous said...

Where does Harper play when he comes up in a few years?

JD said...

I think we still sign Pena or LaRoche for left handed pop and n1st base. Outfield defense automatically improved and we still need a solide SP.

Contract makes no sense baseball wise but sure puts a sock in all the 'cheap lerners' talk.

Big Oil said...

Moving aside issues on money and years...seriously, what do you guys think this means for roster construction? Bernie to center, right? Morse to 1B? I have doubts as to Morse's ability to provide production there, but believe he can probably slightly above replacement level.

I think Nyjer has to become a late inning defensive replacement. Anyone have his splits handy and can compare them to Bernie (platoon?)

ckstevenson said...

This deal sucks, we could have (as others pointed out, kept Dunn for way less stupid of a deal. They're the same stinking age!!! But now we get Werth for 3 more years, and not in a good way.

This stinks to high heaven. There's ZERO chance anyone else was offering him this much of a deal.



Willingham to 1B is a lock now?

Paul said...

1. I think the deal is too much money and for too long, but lets be honest, if you were going to get a big time free agent here, you need to overpay.
2. I bet Willingham gets traded for sure with this signing.
3. I would rather have Werth than Dunn (on this team). The Nats have two 1B prospects plus too many catchers, one of whom could move to 1st. Not to mention, there are is still a very good 1B out there (Konerko) and some decent short term (LaRoche, Pena).
4. If you're a FA, and thinking about a long term contract with a this team, this Werth signing must be attractive - kind of like how Garnett came to the Celtics after they got Allen.
5. I would still love another major piece here (Crawford or Lee) but I am sure that is wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

Assuming we pick up a legit 1B FA, this frees up a lot of possibilities to trade for a top-of-the-rotation starter...

Good or bad, I no longer am in fear of a repeat of 2008.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I thought the same thing on Willingham being traded. I'm not sure how it works since he's scheduled for arbitration.

But some sort of deal for Grieneke now seems possible.

Sbrent said...

Great news! Man if only we could've kept Dunn too! Can you imagine the offensive threat? How is it we can give Werth 7 years and can't give Dunn 4? Still, it's great to see the Nats pull off a genuine, talk-of-the-league coups.

Paul said...

Oh, for roster construction:

Willingham not traded: LF - Willingham, CF Werth RF Moorse / Bernadina

Willingham traded: add Morgan to the above mix. When Morgan plays, he'll be in CF, with Werth in RF, otherwise Werth in CF.

For Harper - he is 18. He'll find a position somewhere. If they keep him in RF and his arm is as strong as they say it is Werth can start in CF and move the LF with age.

On the Werth vs. Dunn - Werth is a good defender and a better athlete.

JD said...

Paul;

He will also age better AND we don't lose a 1st round pick for signing Werth.

Anonymous said...

ah yes... the cheap lerners and dumb rizzo screw up again.

tehee..

can't wait to see him hit his first walk off rbi against philly down here.

Paul said...

on trading Willingham with the arbitration thing...

The way your first six year deal works with a club is the club controls your rights. The first three years are club choice of what you get paid, the second are "arbitration" deals where if a one (or more year) contact isn't worked out the arbitrator assigns a number and the club and player are bound. So, even though Willingham has no contract for next year, since the Nats "tendered" him, he is their property. If they trade him before the contract is worked out for next year, the club acquiring him deals with it.

JD said...

NatsJack,

They have to get a left handed hitter for 1st base via FA or trade; right?

Lineup is too right handed right now.

werthless in philly said...

and a hush fell over jayb

Big Oil said...

Interesting Paul -- you think Werth makes more sense in CF w/ the Hammer still in town, rather than Bernie?

Echo your thoughts on Harp.

Does Werth give us a defensive improvement over Bernie in RF? I know he does over Morse. Team D definitely improves if the Hammer is moved. But right now, pending a 1B acquisition or Morse spending time there, I think we are about even this offseason on defensive improvement from last year.

Anonymous said...

Losing the second round pick to the phils isn't bad either because its been replaced with the 23rd overall pick ... so the nats sign a top FA and get a higher draft pick ... yes its too much money for too long but it had to happen at some point.

N. Cognito said...

Dunn is a one-dimensional hitter. The swing will start to slow down in a couple years and pitchers will be able to get the ball by him.

Werth is a hitter.

Seven years for Werth is a long time but Dunn will crash and burn way before Werth does.

We just might see Willingham at first. It would also help with his leg problems.

JD said...

Big Oil,

No way this ends here; there are more moves to come. I can't exactly predict them but I'm pretty sure we will end up with a left handed hitter at 1st base. I am not sure I buy Brernadina as an everyday player and I do think that Willingham will be dealt.

Joe Seamhead said...

I am so thrilled! The Nats just became a vastly improved team.Jayson is a top notch outfielder.I just wonder what else Rizzo has up his sleeve? As to those who pooh-pah this deal, all I can say is that this was like an early Christmas present for this Nat's fan!

BV said...

Willingham: LF
Bernie: CF
Werth: RF
Morse: 1B/defensive replacement
Morgan: some other team.

Joe Seamhead said...

Big Oil, you're not serious putting Bernadina and Werth in the same breath as outfielders! Werth is major league all the way, a very smart hitter, a better base runner, and plays the game with a fire in his belly. The guy flat out plays to win!

Kevin Rusch, Section406 said...

who cares about the money? They're still well under league average salary. Considering the revenue potential of this town, they could spend another $20M or more w/o breaking a sweat.


Ok, so possible outfielders:
Willingham, Morse, Werth, Bernadina and Morgan
possible 1b:
Morse, Willingham, Flores
possible c:
Ramos, Pudge, Flores, Norris before long.

2012:
Morse, Werth, Harper, Bernadina, Morgan
1b:
Morse, Flores, someone else?
c:
Ramos, Norris, Flores as #3

Now, Lee would be pretty serious, but Webb wouldn't be bad either. Is Wang officially gone after being non-tendered, or is he eligible for a FA deal?

Anonymous said...

Werth better get used to CF, because Harper at 18 has a better arm than Werth for RF.

spike94wl said...

I love how so many people complain about this team when it's losing, and then when it obviously improves itself, they bash the GM for trying to get better. Yes, Werth may not be of use when he is 38/39, but at the same time, Dunn put up a CRAZY high batting average (one that it seems almost impossible for him to duplicate in the future). Werth is a plus defender, which we all know has been one of the knocks on this team in the future. In Rizzo we trust.

Farid Rushdi said...

This is 14th richest contract of all time.

Obviously, he is overpaid, but we had to do it to get him here.

I think they announced this first, before the winter meetings, so use as bait for other potential free agent players.

How does Adam Dunn feel now, $4 million more per year, three more years.

We screamed when Alfonso Soriano got this same contract.

$13 million per year is for play, $5 million is for public relations

Paul said...

Big Oil, I just read an article about Werth's arm. They said that 42% of runners on 2nd scored when a ball was hit to RF vs. the league average of 58%, so I would prefer Bernie or Morgan in CF over Werth.

I bet your outfeild next year is LF Morse/Bernie (Crawford - a boy can dream!), CF Bernie / Morgan RF Werth. I bet Willingham is traded. I bet Pena is signed to play 1B.

Also, Harper, at 18 does not have a better arm than Werth. However, Harper at 21 and Werth at 34 could be a different story.

Paul said...

Farid - great comment about the timing of announcing this deal. I bet when Rizzo walks into the hotel lobby it will look like he stuff an extra pair of swim trunks down the front of his pants.

Sec3MySofa said...

@Seamhead, what, and Bernardina doesn't play to win? They guy only runs thru walls.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought... Sign LaRoche for 1B (left-handed bat) - Werth RF - platoon of Bernadina, Morgan, Morse for CF, LF - Willingham, Desmond, and ??? for SP - Espinosa to SS - don't know about 2B - this isn't gospel; just a thought...

Richard said...

Wow, what a shocker. I too am trying to visualize a 38 year-old guy making $18M. Stay in shape, Jason -- please!
This deal has to say something about Rizzo's view of Dunn's potential as a team leader. On MLBTV, Rizzo emphasized that he thinks Werth is a leader, plus he can play defense. Ouch, Mr. Dunn.

Big Oil said...

Paul -- valuable information to know. And to clarify for Joe Seamhead (to the extent he wasn't being sarcastic), I wasn't equating their defensive value to one another. Indeed, UZR doesn't really like Bernie and the Fan's Scouting Report run by Tango is similarly nonplussed.

What I was trying to evaluate is whether there is reason to believe Bernie could improve -- I think he can -- and if so, where he is best placed given Werth's addition.

SonnyG10 said...

My doom and gloom is definitely lifted. This signing along with the over-slot spending on our draft picks shows me the Learners and the FO will come up with the money for a sufficiently talented player. Yes, I think we probably overpaid in both money and time, but I think that was necessary to get Jayson Werth from going to Boston, or elsewhere. I loved Adam Dunn, but I do think Jayson will age better and he is a defensive upgrade. Hopefully, Rizzo is not finished with the upgrades.

Another_Sam said...

I'm okay with this move. And yes, we'll see lots of swagger from the front office. Yes, I guess Willingham is outta here? One good thing about this: I've forgotten that other move -- Adam who? Who was that? I've forgotten. Ican hold my head high at the office tomorrow at least.

Paul said...

I am from Boston, and although I still love my hometown team, I am following the Nationals a lot because different league, cheap tickets, I love baseball, live near the stadium, the Nats need me more than the Sox, etc. etc.

Anyway, this deal reminds me of the Manny Ramirez contract (not comparing the two players, just the situation). When Manny signed with the Sox, everyone in Boston knew the deal was for too long and too much money. However, we could not attract a free agent without piling up dollars. They really over paid for Ramirez, but after that, the Sox had more bites on FA and that was probably one of the big turn arounds for the Sox who were always pretty good but not good enough.

HOpefully, in seven years, we will be saying, yeah, Werth got a lot of money, probably too much, but the world series rings still look nice.

Doc said...

Rizzo's version of the "Revenge Of The Nerds"----take that Adam Dunn!!!!!

Doesn't make cents, to have Werth for 7 years, with all the FO belly-aching about 4 years for the Dunnster.

Anyway, good to have you aboard Jayson.

Should have signed Dunn too, and then we would really be in the ball game!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Still waiting on your spin, JayB....

I'll be mildly suprised if Carlos Pena is not a member of the Nats by the end of the week. And I appreciate the history lesson on Manny, Paul. Over paying is what gets the attention of other free agents as well as guys with trade clauses.

Section 109 said...

I am really, really happy. Go Rizzo go! And Mark Lerner too! I had the same thought Farid and Paul did--this (I hope and assume) makes us look more attractive to others who would consider coming here. The only thing that makes me sad is that, yes, it seems it might make them trade Willingham, who has always seemed to be a neat guy. But I am borderline giddy over this.

phil dunn said...

This dwarfs Dunn's contract. Not a bad sign but they had to overpay big time--$126 million and 7 years for a 32 year old! Wow, Ted Lerner has gone from cheap to insane!! This doesn't plug the first base hole or the deal with the dearth of quality starting pitching either. The Tyson's Mall may be for sale tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Constant Reader here. Seems to me the NEXT move is what will really inform us about Rizzo and the offseason. Is it 7 years for Werth while passing on 4 years for Dunn? Lots of griping if that's the case. Werth and LaRoche or Pena. You can't argue that's not a net positive. If the next move is a major trade moving Willingham, Desmond or others, holy cow does it get interesting around here.

This is so much fun.

Golfersal said...

Very happy with this deal, hope they didn't break the bank with spending $124 million. With him turning 32 that means he will be 39 which should be OK.

He is a very moody guy but one of the best clutch guys in the business. If I had a choice either Adam Dunn or Jayson Werth would not think twice on choosing Werth for him coming up with the right plays at the right time.

Guy of boost that the Nats needed and yes I thank Rizzo for now making it easier to sign the check for my season tickets

phil dunn said...

Farid--I hope this contract turns out to be more rewarding than Soriano's did. He's been a disaster with the Cubs. I still say signing Werth for 7 years is a huge gamble and is totally out of character with the "plan". At least Zimmerman will now have some protection at the plate.

markfd said...

This was a surprising move, but on the other hand, with the fan base turning against them they had to make a move and this is the move they made. Now make a few more and we may even improve over last season.

Joe Seamhead said...

Big Oil & Sec3, sorry if I came across hard, but I am obviously psyched about this deal, and I think Jayson Werth brings a hard-assed attitude to the Nats that has been sorely lacking. As to Roger Bernadina, I think of him as an " okay" player that,at least at this point in time, is a fourth outfielder on a winning team. Also, I loved watching Adam Dunn launch 500 foot bombs, but his D was terrible, his 199 K's won't be missed, nor will his dismal BA with RISP. I am a huge believer in the importance of a good defense for winning baseball games.Last year's outfield was so much better then 2009's, and combine that with the improved bullpen, Rizzo has been doing a very good job, IMHO. Maybe the Nats will also get A. Gonzales!

sm13 said...

This shows that Scott Boras has a vested interest in surrounding Stras and Harper with players capable of making this team a playoff contender. I see more moves in a very bright future!

Farid Rushdi said...

This has to push Josh Willingham out of town.

Will said...

Wow. That was unexpected.

I hate that its 7 years and $126mil. That's a big over-pay. But then again, it's not my money, and as someone else pointed out, the Nats are still far below league average payroll.

Hopefully this is an indication that the Lerners are willing to open their pocketbooks. I just hope they do it intelligently from now on.

Also, I don't see this as the end of Willingham. Werth is a RF, and we currently have a gaping hole on the right side of the field. Morse could fit there, but he doesn't fit into Rizzo's defense-emphasized scheme. I wouldn't be surprised if Rizzo intends to use him a 1B instead. The beauty of Werth is that he's pretty good defensively in all three OF positions, so who knows, maybe they're intending to use him in CF.
I'll be interested to hear some more from Rizzo and Riggleman on this.

dj in Fl said...

I love this move, and may it be only the first of the week. Rizzo's professionalism, of not airing his actions in public as they are going on, leads us all to pull our hair out when we loose a Dunn. But we have only dealt with RF, which we are a year behind on, now we still have numerous holes to fill to take the next step in "the plan".

Anonymous said...

Looks like Nyjer Morgan and Jayson Werth have the same personalities...GREAT! :(

http://jeffpearlman.com/?p=6170

raymitten said...

This is great. Exactly what the team needs. Werth is a clutch hitter, good outfielder, interesting player to watch and, I suspect, will be a fan favorite. I am a huge Adam Dunn fan but this is an upgrade. I wanted the Nats to provide some assurance to the fans that they aren't becoming the Pittsburgh Pirates. They've given me that assurance. And how!

I don't care if they overpaid, as most others have said (including Rizzo himself) they had to. I think Jayson Werth will quickly become a folk hero in DC.

Hope Zimm sees this as the committment to winning that I do.

Can't wait for the next move.

JayB said...

I am very impressed and happy. Jason W. is a lucky guy. Nats had to way over pay someone someday and he is the lucky guy.

Good move even though they over paid by about 50%. The money is not a big deal because it represents money that should have been spent in 2007-10. Now we need to over pay a pitcher and a 1B...

Again, I was wrong and I am Happy to be wrong...this is the type of moves I have pushed for for several years....need to keep going!

Fred Weasley said...

Well, you can't say fairer than that.

Anonymous8 said...

MarkFD, I think if they just improve the bench now they are improved over last year. Werth is an upgrade over Dunn and Morse or Willingham can move to 1st base.

Does Uncle Teddy want to shock the world again and get Cliff Lee? The Red Sox blogs are reeling over this. Love to see those big spender teams get pissed off!

LoveDaNats said...

Exciting development! Now surprise us with Cliff Lee and all is forgiven with A. Dunn.

JaneB said...

Let's see what comes next. Not LaRoche though. I'm still in mourning for Adam Dunn who only wanted four measly years. I'm working in it; still in the denial phase. But it does show they will pay for a for a for real player. Is it too much to hope we get Crawford too? If the bank is open, why the heck not?

Sec3MySofa said...

Dunn said he wanted to stay; Willingham says he wants to stay, but apparently (according to Mark, among others) he's probably a goner. Both despite the fact that the team stunk on ice for the last several years running.
Zimmerman is making not-so-discreet noises about not staying if they don't start winning, and he's still here. Pudge gets a bonus for the tail end of his career, and now they pay double to sign a guy who's won plenty. Maybe athleticism isn't the only thing he's looking for. Maybe he's dumping guys who seem to him a little too comfortable here. Just a guess.

nitchell said...

The money is irrelevant, as, frankly, is the length of hthe contract. They HAD to do something, and this isn't a terrible contract. Now sign Crawford, Lee, and trade for Greinke, and I'll be happy.

Anonymous said...

Can you say J.D. Drew?

Sec3MySofa said...

and I know it's not going to happen, but in some alternate universe, wouldn't it be fun to watch Cliff Lee and Werth beat the Phillies with 20,000 Philly fans booing them the whole time?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous8, no way Morse or Willingham will play first. I think either Pena or LaRoche will be signed by the end of the week. Isn't Pena a Boras client too? Hmmmmmmm

Mike

Carl in 309 said...

Cold outside and the stove is hot! Maybe a trip to Viera IS in next March's plans. Just when I thought I might not log into Zuckerman's blog until sometime next year.

Whatever Werth looks like from today's perspective at 7 years hence, $17/$18 million per year for a quality (used) outfielder will seem like a bargain by then. We're definitely significantly improved at bat and with the glove in the outfield. While I would not be surprised if this change makes Willingham more readily available for a trade, it's Morgan I hope we dump--he's weak on defense, easily flustered in the field, and too unreliable in the line-up. I don't care where Jayson and Bernie play, so long as they regularly start.

As good as this move feels now, it's the starting pitching that I think will make or break Rizzo's December: while the pickings are significantly thinner, I'm hoping this is but a marker on what the Nats will do in the next week or so. Perhaps this is Rizzo doing what the Nats did last year by signing Pudge--these guys want to be taken seriously by the quality talent that's available.

[But I still wish we'd paid to hold onto Adam D.--we should definitely look outside the organization to fill that spot as well.]

JaneB said...

Sec3....THAT would make up for everything for at least one full season.

Anonymous said...

A few more moves and this club could be competitive. Namely moving Willingham for prospects, adding those to a Desmond/Hood package and getting a Garza type pitcher, then adding a real 1st baseman (even LaRoche) and maybe overpay for 1 year of Hudson. LF would be Morse/Benadina. They wouldn't win the division, but would be entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Don't expect the $40 parking fee in the garages close to the centerfield gate at Nats Park to decrease after this signing. It's a lot of $$$, but how exciting is it to land a big-name free agent? Look for a trade for either Garza or Greinke. And look for Desmond or Jordan Zimmerman to be traded away. Also, look for Nats to sign FA Pena at first base. He's great in the clubhouse, but strikes out as much as Dunn.

Nick said...

This signing is too long, too expensive, too unorthodox.
But it's still going to help the Nationals.
1. It clears the way for Willingham to be traded for starting pitching, maybe in a package.
2. It mollifies Ryan Zimmerman (hopefully). Although it'll still facilitate his desire for the Tulo contract.
3. It improves relations with Scott Boras, who I need not remind everyone also represents Carlos Pena (and Cliff Lee... but that's not likely).
4. It sets us up for 2012/13: Willingham AND Dunn would have been gone once Harper gets up here, but now with a potential 2013 middle-of-the-order of Zimmerman, Harper, and (an albeit regressing) Werth, there's some protection for Harper as well as another moderate-to-high power and pure hitting threat.
5. Remember how the Ivan Rodriguez signing lent some legitimacy to the Nationals? IMHO, this will have at least the same, if not a greater effect. It's not going to bring in Cliff Lee, but SOMEONE is going to look at this and say, "Washington doesn't seem like that bad of a choice, at least in the short term."
This could be the beginning of a big winter for the Nationals.

NatsNut said...

Me on Friday after Rizzo's statement on Dunn:

"blah, blah, blah....yawwwwn. Seriously, show me the money. I'm sick of hearing this crap."

(bows and tips hat) Rizzo, my friend, you have shown me the money.

Sec3MySofa said...

Nationals Enquirer: FTW
"The Burly W"
www.nationalsenquirer.com/

Anonymous said...

Still too many people not seeing the "BIG PICTURE"? As I pointed out, Werth, unlike Dunn is both fast and athletic. He is a competent enough outfielder to play center field!!! For a world series team like the Phillies???? Adam Dunn cannot even manage to play first base? Because of his performance no National League team considered offering him a contract other than the Nationals? Only Baltimore and the ChiSox who would most certainly have used him as their DH? THINK PEOPLE!?

This tells me that the Lerners have given the reigns pretty much entirely to Mike Rizzo. That peeps is a very, very good thing. Cliff Lee is still a possibility because Rizzo will definitely offer him a similar contract. But he may choose the pin stripes instead? And Carl Crawford (there's your left handed bat) must also now be considered a possibility. If they get him why not just let Morse play first base and let Bernadina compete with Morgan for CF.

The Nats must now be considered serious players where even Yankee-like contracts will be offered to the right FA's. SO, IT'S EXACTLY the right message to send to all of baseball and especially Cliff Lee.

Sunderland said...

Hey golfersal, Adam Dunn was about 30 points better than Jayson Werth last year in batting average with RISP and and AVG with RISP and 2 outs.

Just wanted to point that out.

******
If I had a choice either Adam Dunn or Jayson Werth would not think twice on choosing Werth for him coming up with the right plays at the right time.

erocks33 said...

Wow! Gotta love the stealthness of Rizzo. No one had the Nats on Werth's radar this offseason. This is a shocker!

Now, I'm ready for some risk-reward trades this week. Any or all of the following I'd like to see Rizzo shoot for:

1) trade Willingham and anyone else not named ZNN or Storen to the Rays for Matt Garza. Garza has been more consistent than Greinke and I think would cost less to obtain.
2) Talk with the Indians to see what it would take to pry Grady Sizemore away from them. I'm thinking not much since his contract is a lot more than the Indians would like to pay. Pray that Sizemore can come back healthy and the Nats have a bona fide leadoff hitter and CF.
3) If #2 can't happen, talk to the Mets to see what they'd want for Carlos Beltran. It's his last year on the contract, and I think both he and the Mets aren't happy with each other so a change of scenery might be what he needs. Nats get a switch-hitting CF that could provide some protection behind Zim and/or Werth. If he has a good start to the season, he could be traded for prospects in July, or wait til the end of the season and offer arb and get draft picks for him.
4) If no one else has done so yet, sign Bobby Jenks to a 1 or 2 year deal to be the closer. Give Storen one more year without the pressure of being the closer. Again, if needed, Jenks could be traded in July as I'm sure some contending teams will need a hard-throwing, strikeout closer.
5) Sign Webb.

Hey, I've been drinking all day so I'm allowed to be non-sensical right now ...

Anonymous said...

ranes
reins
rains
raines
reigns
raynes

Bote Man said...

I can't say whether I agree with Anonymous or Anonymous more. I'll get back to ya.

For now, I have to clear my head and calm down in order to evaluate this announcement.

Anonymous said...

I was being facetious when I used the word reigns. My bad dude. ~smiles~ Rizzo reigns that's the message I got from this.

Anonymous said...

And I still think Derrick Norris' bat is ready. He can easily play first base. But they do need a left handed bat, perhaps that will be Crawford?

Anonymous said...

Pericles Reigns. Tim Raines. Rizzo holds the reins. It never rains but it pours.

Ernie said...

Two thoughts:

1. Does adding Werth to the outfield make Nyjer grow up? He's not the self-anointed superstar out there anymore. Willingham didn't have the greatest defensive creds, but with Werth out there beside him, maybe Nyjer now has to act like he wants to stay there...

2. With all of these right-handed batters, what is Riggs going to do when he needs to pinch hit? The double switch isn't much use anymore. Based on this observation alone I am 99% certain that we have a left-handed batting first basemen by Feb. 14. Maybe by week's end.

I'm sad to think we will probably lose Willingham on top of Dunn now, but my first thought after seeing the news (after wondering how many years/millions had been spent) was that the Hammer is done in DC too. You can't really critique the off-season until it's over, but all Nats fans love agony--if you didn't you'd never get through the season itself...

DCDingo said...

Moving back off the ledge. I can be trusted with sharp objects again. Hat tip to Rizzo and the Lerners for opening the bank vault. More needs to be done and would have loved a batting lineup with Werth and Dunn, but this is very promising.

natsfan1a said...

Might that have been an "Airplane" reference in the opening, Mark?

I wasn't ever on the ledge but this is a verrry interresting development. I'm going to have to get over a few residual Phoolies issues, but I think I can do it. Say, maybe a there could be a Geico tie-in, assuming Werth keeps his usual coiffure and facial hair configuration. :-)

Todd Boss said...

http://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?p=441

Just posted comparable thoughts on the deal. Overpay yes, natural fit yes. Righty-heavy lineup now? Yes. However, he can play all 3 outfield positions and can move around. Believe more moves are coming...

Anonymous said...

Here's your left handed hitter: (nah, Rizzo will never pull the trigger on 2 100 million dollar deals? But what if the guy is under 30 and a left-handed hitter?)

The Washington Nationals, who are on the prowl for starting pitching this winter and are one of at least three teams interested in Cliff Lee, may go after Crawford as well, if some team officials get their way. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that "some people within the organization are pushing for the Nationals to pursue Carl Crawford, an ideal free agent."

Anonymous said...

Pericles Reigns. Tim Raines. Rizzo holds the reins. It never rains but it pours.

Rizzo reigns. Riggleman (not my idea) holds the reins. It's raining here and its pouring but I suspect that the Lerners have boarded the train.

Wally said...

Kudos to Rizzo, but especially the lerners. As a pretty strong believer in the Lerners are Cheap theme, I have never been happier to eat crow. I agree with the sentiment that the lerners appear to have turned things over to Rizzo, who wants to make them about pitching, speed, defense and just enough pop. That is why Werth > Dunn.

I am not sure why this means the Hammer is gone, other than maybe Rizzo wants more speed/defense there (but he is no Dunn out there), but it does seem to be becoming talked about so much that there probably is some truth to it. I would like to see him stay, but if he goes, how about something unusual - Hammer to the O's for Tillman and Pie?

One or two more moves, and I am back to being a STH.

The Great Unwashed said...

I like Werth and am glad they signed him, but at the same time I agree with others who express concern about the length of his contract. Then again, this is long overdue justice for the fans who have endured the team's frugality thus far.

But let's not forget that the starting rotation needs some serious help. I'd argue that's more important than the hole at first base right now. No, the Nats probably won't land Cliff Lee, but they've got to do something this offseason. Werth's bat will be a waste of $126 million with the current state of the starting rotation. We've seen that movie before and it doesn't have a good ending.

Bzl. said...

I'm flabbergasted about this signing. This will only echo previous comments, but it's a head-scratcher that they wouldn't sign Dunn for a fraction, but it also explains *why* they didn't pursue Dunn. This goes right along with Rizzo's professed emphasis about defense being Key: Werth has a rifle. Bernadina takes over CF; Nyjer is odd-man-out (yay!) barring additional moves.

I will renew my STH package tonight!

Bote Man said...

Who said: "Pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching..."

Nevertheless, I agree. More pitchers, please!

Anonymous said...

Who knows what 18 million will look like in 7 years, or 6 even. It might be the norm by then, who's to say. Just win baby and the do re me won't matter much. JTinSC

JohnDC said...

I think Werth's addition makes Willingham sellable, maybe along with Desmond/Norris (but I hope not Zimmermann the pitcher) for a front-line starter like Matt Garza. Then add Carlos Pena/Adam LaRoche at first and a few bench players, maybe another reliever and we're in good shape while we draft our THREE first round picks (including the sandwich pick). good to go. Then watch the prospects start to arrive over the next few years and maybe sign another starting pitcher if we need him in 2012 or 2013. This move makes a lot of things possible. Dunn's absence is more than made up if we do the things above. Go Nats!

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