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Nationals reach seven-year, $126M deal with Jayson Werth

Dec 5, 2010, 5:35 PM EDT

werth and beard

Big news here as the baseball world continues its migration to Orlando, Florida for the Winter Meetings.

According to’s Todd Zolecki, free agent outfielder Jayson Werth is close to agreeing to a contract with the Nationals.

Zolecki has not heard any particulars on the terms of the deal, but it’s sure to be a big one.  Werth is represented by super agent Scott Boras, who usually recommends that his top-tier clients wait until the later part of the offseason to sign.  Unless, of course, they’re overwhelmed by big time money.

Werth batted .296/.388/.532 with 27 homers and 85 RBI over 156 games for the Phillies in 2010 and should do well for several years in D.C.  The Nats probably overpaid for him, disappointed by Adam Dunn’s departure and inspired by Ryan Zimmerman’s recent comments about the direction of the organization, but a deal with Werth represents a small coup for the Washington front office.  They’ve courted many top free agents since moving to the nation’s capital and been spurned by pretty much all of them.

Werth wearing the Curly W, that’s cute.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of says the deal is done.

UPDATE II: Jon Heyman of reports that Werth will get a seven-year deal.  Yikes.

UPDATE III: According to Rosenthal, the seven-year contract will be worth $126 million.  That’s an unbelievable amount of money — more than the Cardinals paid a younger Matt Holliday last winter.

  1. alexpoterack - Dec 5, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? It sounded like you said the Nats were about to land the third-most sought after free agent on the market.

  2. heiniemanush - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Holy crap.

  3. aburns77 - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Horrible horrible signing, I mean this team is so far off from being competitve and now they’ve effectively ruined any payroll flexibility they’ll have for the better part of a decade from a guy who’s had arguably two and a half, maybe three really solid seasons, this is crazy. Not to mention this totally schews the rest of the market for Lee and Crawford who are now going to use this as a baseline for their respective deals, horrible signing, easily one of the worst in years.

    • JBerardi - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:09 PM

      Ryan Howard’s deal is worse. Not by much, though.

    • paul621 - Dec 5, 2010 at 8:54 PM

      Ruin payroll flexibility? I never really understand that idea in baseball… The Nats are owned by a billionaire; if there isn’t enough money to go around, it’s by choice.

  4. JBerardi - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Seven years, $126 million, and this contract STARTS on his age-32 season. That. Is. Awful.

  5. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    It sure is. It’s always about the money. Can’t wait to hear that Werth wanted to be part of the rebuilding process.

    Or the school systems.

  6. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    Blame the Yanks for theer many big deals, but it’s deals like this which really do damage to valuations.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM

      Don’t blame the Yankees for this signing. Blame the Nationals management for overreacting to Zimmerman’s comments the other day.

    • rover27 - Dec 5, 2010 at 7:32 PM

      The Twins Mauer deal last year…8 years at $23 milion a year($184 million) has got to be one of the all time worst. What was the rush? He had a year left on his contract. It’ll hamstring Twins for a decade.

      • wonkypenguin - Dec 5, 2010 at 7:55 PM

        It won’t hamstring them for a decade. Considering the increase in revenue the new ballpark has brought in, they have effectively jumped far out of the “small market” category and have been able to spend money. Sure, 8 years is a lot, but the contract runs out when he’s 35 and by then, he’ll be a first baseman or DH if need be.

        The Yankees came into play with the “he had a year left” as they sat hovering like rabid dogs to have a replacement for Posada. Wait a year and they couldn’t have afforded him.

        Oh – and if they had let the hometown boy go, their revenue would have been close to zilch for the decade, and they could not let that happen.

  7. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    Blame the Yanks for their many big deals, but it’s deals like this which really do damage to valuations.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

      Don’t blame the Yankees for this signing. Blame the Nationals ownership/management for overreacting to Zimmerman’s comments the other day.

  8. crankyfrankie - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Well the good thing is that he’ll be able to play in front of sellout crowds nine times a year. Of course that will be when his Nationals host the Phillies. It has always been his dream to come back and haunt the Orioles who spurned him many years ago.

    • randomdigits - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:29 PM

      If he had been willing to move to the OF the O’s would never have spurned him.

      BTW Silva, this is what a desperation move looks like.

  9. schlom - Dec 5, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    It’s the Nationals, of course they have to overpay to get free agents to go there.

  10. fquaye149 - Dec 5, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    This is probably going to go down as one of the worst FA contracts in MLB History

  11. apbaguy - Dec 5, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    I don’t know about the worst FA deal of all time (Mike Hampton), but I can’t imagine what this is going to look like about half way through.

    And how happy is Werth going to be in last place every year?

    • fquaye149 - Dec 5, 2010 at 7:56 PM

      One of the worst. It’ s not necessarily as bad as Zito, Park, Neagle, Hampton, or Higginson, but it certainly looks to be in that company now. And as he ages, it will probably look worse and worse.

  12. sdelmonte - Dec 5, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Carl Crawford must be smiling.

  13. crankyfrankie - Dec 5, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    OK he is ,probably , batting cleanup behind Zimmerman their best player. Number will go down for three reasons. First no one behind him to protect him in the lineup. Second less runners on base to drive in. Third he no longer gets to hit against the Nationals pitching.

  14. Jeremiah Graves - Dec 5, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    The Nats are at least another three years or better off from being any sort of legitimate contender. That’s assuming Strasburg’s arm doesn’t fall off and Bryce Harper doesn’t turn out to be a fluke against grown-up pitching.

    I get that they have to overpay for free agents, but you’ve got to overpay for the right free agents. Adam Dunn, would have made sense and probably could have been had on something close to the four year, $56 million he eventually inked with Chicago, if not cheaper had they done the deal earlier in the season.

  15. schmedley69 - Dec 5, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Jayson Werth is a complimentary player. Not a superstar who can carry a team for months at a time. Insane. He and McNabb can get together for dinner once in a while and reminisce about their days in Philly, when they played for contenders and were actually relevant.

    • soccermom17540 - Dec 5, 2010 at 8:36 PM

      ROFL . . . love it schmedley! Not far from the truth either.

  16. thenaj - Dec 5, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    Yikes on this deal. He isn’t worth that much money imo. He’s a role player/complement not a superstar like that money suggests. Guess he has given up on winning another championship as well because it sure as hell isn’t coming in Washington through the duration of his contract/career.

  17. ralphwilsonsucks - Dec 6, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Wow, These guys should be future Hall of Famers not average players.

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