Good…but Not “Werth” that Kind of Money

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Major League Baseball, MLB
Tags: , , , , , ,

Free agency has its drawbacks, but it does keep things exciting.  It gives hope to fans for their team to quickly improve.  It also allows players to find their true market value.  But there always seems to be a move or two that leaves everyone scratching their heads.  This year is no exception.

Yesterday, Jayson Werth agreed to a 7-year, $126million deal with the Washington Nationals – a team who has owned the real estate at the bottom of the NL East standings since their arrival in D.C. in 2005.

One of the advantages to residing in the cellar of Major League Baseball is the opportunity to improve by picking at the top of the draft.  Most years, the draft comes and goes without much fanfare.  Unlike the NFL draft, where even the most casual fan knows the top players being drafted, the MLB draft features guys who will most likely not be seen on a Major League field for years to come.

The Washington Nationals happened to catch lightning in a bottle two years in a row.  In the 2009 draft, they selected Stephen Strasburg.  The rocket-armed pitcher was arguably the most hyped draft pick in the history of Major League Baseball.  When he debuted in the Majors this past season, it was easy to see why.  In the 2010 draft, the Nationals selected Bryce Harper, a power hitter that has the potential to redefine the word (he hit a ball 570 feet at the age of 15).

Clearly, there is a lot to be excited about for the perennial cellar-dwelling Washington Nationals.  It stands to reason that they are looking to build around their two young stars.  Jayson Werth, a battle-tested veteran who knows what it takes to win, is a perfectly logical addition to the Nationals roster.  However, it is hard to find anyone outside of Jayson Werth, his family, his agent (Scott Boras) and the Washington Nationals who think this contract makes sense.

As is often the case in Major League Baseball, this Scott Boras negotiated contract will have a cascading effect on the rest of the league and their negotiations with other free agents.  Suffice it to say that every unsigned free agent feels a sense of gratitude today towards Jayson Werth, Scott Boras and the Washington Nationals.


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