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Seems like even Scott Boras was surprised at what Werth got

Dec 6, 2010, 8:13 AM EDT

Jayson Werth

Overheard this morning in the lobby at the Winter Meetings: Scott Boras didn’t even do the “thank you for your offer; let us assess it and get back with you thing” with the Nationals when they went to seven years, $126 million. It was just — bam — “where do we sign?!”

That was all said in a half-joking way — I’m sure Boras played it cool — but the sense among the chattering insiders here was clear: even the agent who likes to take his time and work everyone against everyone in negotiations was surprised that the Nats gave Werth as many years and as many dollars as he got.

It’s such a crazy deal that I’m starting to come off the notion that everyone has about how much Carl Crawford will demand or ultimately will get.  I mean, yes, baseball free agency is a market, but it’s a less than perfect market with hardly an infinite amount of bidders.  Just because the Nats are nuts doesn’t mean there are other nuts out there waiting to overpay people. If Crawford says he wants ten years and $190 million or something, wouldn’t the proper response for suitors be “sorry, the only insane team has already signed its big fish this winter. We’re not insane.”

I think Werth’s deal will ultimately mean that Crawford gets paid well, but the sheer lunacy of his contract may actually cause negotiations to drag on longer than they otherwise would have due to just how far out of a rational frame of reference it is. There will be push back from teams, I bet. At least a bit, and at least for a little while.

  1. paperlions - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:18 AM

    Crawford’s talent and past production mean he will get paid well. Werth’s contract means nothing in that regard.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:42 AM

      Don’t think for a second that Crawford and his agent aren’t going to use this signing as a measuring stick for what Crawford “deserves”. He won’t be happy signing for “Jayson Werth money”. Even though, last week, this was “Crawford money”, it’s now “Jayson Werth money” therefore Crawford will be forced to hold out for a more “Crawford like” payday. And yes, it probably will drag on longer than it has to.

      • paperlions - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:35 AM

        But it doesn’t matter what they want to use if for because any smart team will just ignore any such reference. By your, ehem, logic, every contract is a viable measuring stick, meaning that the worst contracts handed out impact all other contracts, which they do not. Otherwise, every mediocre pitcher and OF would get Zito and Wells money respectively…they don’t. There isn’t a single team that will be willing to consider Werth’s contract in negotiations. They are independent events no matter what the agent tries to drag into it.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2010 at 12:08 PM

        My “ahem logic” refers to the Crawford camp specifically, not teams. I never said every contract is a measuring stick either . What I’m saying is any team interested in Crawford this off season will be faced with what Werth was signed for, by Crawford and his agent. They will be told how much more valuable Crawford is than Werth, then they’ll have a decision to make. And since it was such an over the top contract I feel this will give the Crawford camp reason to hold out longer for more money than they otherwise would. And don’t think for a second that Crawford won’t use Werth’s contract to try to get a better contract. You can sit back and pretend Werth’s contract doesn’t effect negotiations in regards to Crawford at all, but I could pretend I own the Phillies too. Doesn’t make it so.

        Crawford will get a contract just as long but for more $$ now. Just you watch.

  2. phillygirl4 - Dec 6, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    So the Nationals are a laughing stock now, right? I mean, how do people respect this sort of lunacy? And what does this mean for baseball? I hope TPTB see this as the anomaly (a word Werth used to describe his poor hitting with RISP) it is and not the new norm.

    As a Phillies fan, I wish Werth well. I don’t blame him at all but I must say the shine came off his diamond a bit for me. Good luck in Baseball Oblivion, Werth. But beware – Philly is a lonely place when you’re being booed.

    • Utley's Hair - Dec 6, 2010 at 2:06 PM

      I disagree with your assertion that “Philly is a lonely place when you’re being booed.” That fraternity is getting bigger every year.

      JDub and Boras do in a sense deserve kudos in getting the years and money they could out of somebody. I just hope one World Series ring is enough for him—’cause neither he nor his new employer are getting anywhere near that until at least after he’s a footnote. The Gnuts are morons.

  3. Old Gator - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    Well, the grotesque decor of the Mouseworld hotels will make a nice backdrop for the kind of fiscal idiocy that was demonstrated yesterday. Look at the structure in question: a mongrel architecture, rising on no known paradigm, brick the color of dried blood rising turreted and cupolaed and crazed into the heat of day form on form in demented accretion without precedent or counterpart in the anals of human habitation, however temporary or overpriced.

    Craig, you’ve come home. The shades in limbo whisper “welcome.”

    • Chipmaker - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:34 AM

      I wanna think that “anals” was a typo, but this is an Old Gator comment, so the subversion may be deliberate.

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:58 AM

        I see that as a veiled comment on where the Gnats will be hurtin’ in a few years. Well played, Gator.

  4. Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    DC is not known for fiscal responsibility, the Nat’s are just trying to keep up the DC tradition of pissing away money. Here’s an interesting take which says he’s not all that overpaid actually. The one article that is known to exist anyway..

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

  5. xpensivewinos - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:51 AM

    I need another lecture from someone telling me again how baseball doesn’t need a salary cap and a major rehaul of its salary structure.

    That gurgling you hear is the golden goose being strangled to death. Baseball is now to the point where it’s simply gotten too stupid to even watch.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 6, 2010 at 9:58 AM

      Isn’t this kind of proof that they don’t need a salary cap? The freakin’ NATIONALS can afford a top free agent, so I don’t see an argument that we need better parity.

      • Charles Gates - Dec 6, 2010 at 12:23 PM

        The Twins and Rangers are your examples of small market teams that can’t put a winning team on the field? I’m hoping I didn’t read that right.

    • Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:02 AM

      They system is fine.

      -The Werth Family

      PS: The Hampton’s and Zito’s do not like your post either.

      • Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:02 AM

        The system is about as fine as my grammar and typing.

      • basedrum777 - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:27 AM

        If Washington DC can afford to pay talent than the owners of the Twins, Rangers, and Oakland have nothing to complain about. I believe each is much more wealthy than the new Washington owners. This truly shows that if more teams made it a point to put a winning product on the field than it would be the norm rather than the exception…

      • Utley's Hair - Dec 6, 2010 at 11:23 AM

        Wow…how bad must Rosenthal be?

    • JBerardi - Dec 6, 2010 at 12:50 PM

      I don’t understand how Werth being overpaid somehow harms the sport of baseball. Who cares?

  6. yankees1996 - Dec 6, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    WOW!, what a contract, The Nationals are very good at making a splash. If Jason Werth got $126 million, Carl Crawford has got to be waiting in GREAT anticipation.

  7. marshmallowsnake - Dec 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Baseball needs a reality check. (no pun intended)

  8. Utley's Hair - Dec 6, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    Congratulations to JDub and Scott Boras. But it’s a damn good thing he got that pesky, elusive World Series ring out of the way, ’cause that sure as hell ain’t happenin’ down there—at least not before he’s a footnote.

  9. woodenulykteneau - Dec 6, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    As usual, the philistines don’t grasp that last-place teams *have* to overpay for FAs. On the plus side, The Lerners Are Cheap faction just lost their one and only crutch.

  10. apbaguy - Dec 6, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    Oops forgot the Zito contract (mental block after he was left of the WS squad?). Anyway, that puts the Werth contract in the same class of deals as:

    Kevin Brown
    A-Rod in Texas
    Chan Ho Park in Texas
    Vernon Wells
    Mike Hampton
    Barry Zito
    Rafael Soriano

    Those were all terrible deals for the teams involved. But those deals go back 15 years now. Which proves there is always one crazy GM/Owner and that Boras will find him. And much as the teams never seem to learn this lesson, players never learn that they have no chance of winning when they sign one of these deals, since the contract immediately becomes a boat anchor around the team’s financial neck.

    • JBerardi - Dec 6, 2010 at 12:53 PM

      Wrong Soriano.

      Also, this kinda proves Craig’s point that, just because one team wildly overpays for a guy, other teams aren’t automatically obliged to do the same. None of these contracts ruined baseball, Werth’s won’t either.

      • apbaguy - Dec 6, 2010 at 1:13 PM

        Thanks for the Soriano correction. And also the observation that baseball as a whole isn’t damaged by these deals. The game thrives, not because of these particular deals, but because they aren’t widespread. Most teams have better sense.

  11. granted42 - Dec 6, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Maybe the Nats plan on ways of offsetting the cost of the contract. For example, maybe by signing Werth, they get an increase in season ticket sales. That should cover the first $1000. The balance of the contact may be covered by the commissions they receive from every player that uses this whacked-out contract to jack up his asking price. That alone could make this a profitable contract for Washington.

  12. umrguy42 - Dec 7, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    Ted Lerner been getting Free Agency tips from Dan Snyder?

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