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Monday, December 06, 2010

Rosenthal: Boras gets insane contract for Werth

Oogly-oogly!...Madman Muntz Motor Mansions for everybody!

A rival general manager, upon hearing that the contract was for seven years, offered this reaction to Jayson Werth’s signing with the Nationals:

“Absolutely bat——crazy.”

And that was before the GM even learned that the contract was for $126 million, an average of $18 million per season.

Werth, who turns 32 on May 20, will be 36, 37 and 38 in the final three years of the deal. With the Phillies, he was more of a complement than a centerpiece.

No matter.

...“For elite players like this to come to Washington, D.C., obviously we have to extend the contract,” Rizzo said. “We understand where we’re at in our process. Someday in the very near future, we hope that we will not have to give extra money, extra years to acquire a player.”

Rizzo praised Werth’s athleticism, his base-running acumen, his ability to play center field as well as right. He raved about Werth’s offensive improvement, his increased patience at the plate. He described Werth as a late bloomer whose best days are still ahead.

Boras could not have said it better.

Repoz Posted: December 06, 2010 at 01:16 AM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, fantasy baseball, nationals

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   1. Alex Vila Posted: December 06, 2010 at 01:34 AM (#3703512)
A rival general manager, upon hearing that the contract was for seven years, offered this reaction to Jayson Werth’s signing with the Nationals:

“Absolutely bat——crazy.”


Well, can't disagree with that sentiment.
   2. 'Spos Posted: December 06, 2010 at 01:43 AM (#3703525)
Mike Rizzo:
"It kind of exemplifies Phase 2 of the Washington Nationals' process. Phase 1 was scouting and development, build the farm system type of program. We feel like we're well on our way of doing that, and now it's the time to go to the second phase, and really compete for division titles and championships."


Phase 3: Profit!
   3. Repoz Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:12 AM (#3703570)
In the Nationals' evaluation of Werth, Rizzo said, their front office felt he could improve on his numbers in Philadelphia (an average of 29 homers over the last three seasons), and came away believing some of the injury troubles that plagued Werth early in his career are behind him. Rizzo said he's not worried that Werth was a Citizens Bank Park creation; he pointed to the outfielder's league-leading 46 doubles in 2010, and said that total could go up with Nationals Park's larger gaps.


(holds belly)
   4. Sam M. Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:21 AM (#3703580)
A rival general manager, upon hearing that the contract was for seven years, offered this reaction to Jayson Werth’s signing with the Nationals:

“Absolutely bat——crazy.”


I love me some Sandy Alderson.
   5. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:24 AM (#3703585)
Oh my God. I know that the embarrassing Nationals have to overpay to get quality free agents, but if these terms are accurate, "absolutely batsh*t crazy" might even be an understatement.
   6. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:31 AM (#3703592)
Boras does his job very well.
   7. Accent Shallow Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:32 AM (#3703593)
Ok, we've had plenty of freaking out, but there's a non-zero chance that Werth actually lives up to these terms.

Right? Maybe . . . 0.3%?
   8. jmurph Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:36 AM (#3703598)
Right? Maybe . . . 0.3%?


Nah, he's probably overpaid next year, forget 2017.
   9. caprules Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:41 AM (#3703602)
FWIW, Cameron has Werth at 7/$118
   10. McCoy Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:49 AM (#3703611)
After the Nats lost Dunn I was going to say that maybe they would finally lower the ticket prices but I guess that isn't happening anytime soon.
   11. OCD SS Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:55 AM (#3703617)
... and that should secure pick # 19 for the Red Sox in the draft.
   12. McCoy Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:09 AM (#3703636)
No, fangraphs says Werth is only getting slightly overpaid if Werth stays good and salaries continue to rise.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:20 AM (#3703646)
I wonder what the next best offer was.

5/75?
   14. zachtoma Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:29 AM (#3703655)
I think "overpaid" isn't always the best way to judge a contract. Yes, he's overpaid. That doesn't mean it will be a bad contract for WSN. Can they afford to overpay him? (I don't know). Could they have added him without overpaying him? (No, of course not). Is it worth adding him anyways? (Maybe, with Zimmerman and Strasburg/Harper coming up, they have a stellar young core and are primed to add a very good player for a run). Will he continue to be a very good player? (Seems like a better bet than Zito or Soriano, he's not a superstar but he has a solid all-around game that should play anywhere - I don't see scary potential for a performance bust). There are reasons not to hate this.
   15. Raskolnikov Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:35 AM (#3703661)
When's Zimmerman due for FA? I would think that he should get at least $175M from Washington if they have this kind of money for Werth.
   16. robinred Posted: December 06, 2010 at 05:55 AM (#3703693)
I see an upside here: since Jeff Pearlman hates Werth, this may really piss Pearlman off.
   17. The Nightman Cometh Posted: December 06, 2010 at 05:56 AM (#3703695)
For elite players like this to come to Washington, D.C., obviously we have to extend the contract.

I know Rizzo went on to say that he hopes this changes in the near future, but doesn't saying this publicly and in such blunt terms hurt the Nationals leverage in future negotiations?
   18. The District Attorney Posted: December 06, 2010 at 05:59 AM (#3703697)
Heyman: Boras deserves insane contract for Werth
   19. Tripon Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:17 AM (#3703703)
Any corner outfielder who can hit a damn and around 30 is going to look at Werth's contract and think he can get that.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:36 AM (#3703708)
Piffle. This is a steal. It isn't even Soriano money. :-)
   21. The Ghost fouled out, but stays in the game Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:43 AM (#3703709)
Any corner outfielder who can hit a damn and around 30 is going to look at Werth's contract and think he can get that.

Let's not limit it to corner outfielders. This has set the market for all sorts of good-but-not-great middlin' aged hitters. It is going to be a pricey winter for shopping.
   22. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:49 AM (#3703710)
This means Paul Konerko will get infinity dollars per year for infinity years, with a player option, full no-trade, and access to Mrs. Kotsay.
   23. madvillain Posted: December 06, 2010 at 07:17 AM (#3703724)
Wow. Wow. Wow. Triple ####### wow. Can someone please try and explain this to me? I'm convinced this is beyond explaining.
   24. Tripon Posted: December 06, 2010 at 07:26 AM (#3703727)
BTW, Jayson Werth suddenly has an opinion on the capital Gains tax.
   25. Harvey Berkman Posted: December 06, 2010 at 08:35 AM (#3703739)
and access to Mrs. Kotsay.


awesomeness
   26. drdr Posted: December 06, 2010 at 08:43 AM (#3703740)
I think that most of us still operate as if FA win is worth around $4m - $4.5m, while it seems, based on the moves sofar, that baseball inflation has resumed its course and FA win is worth around $5m. That would make Werth's contract only slight overpay, instead of Zito-like contract. More important problem may be that Werth isn't superstar, but just very good player. Based on those calculations, he will provide surplus value in the first 3-4 years of the contract, but after that he will be around average, and overpaid. Can Washington seriously compete within the next three years? If not, better deal would have been 8/25 per for Lee, who should still be above-average after three years.
   27. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 06, 2010 at 08:55 AM (#3703741)
The problem with contracts like this and Ryan Howard's is that everyone with superficially comparable stats wants the same amount, so even though the first contract was a ludicrous overpay, it sets a new market rate.

If this is new market rate, then we will either see today's $90 million payrolls rise to $120 million or else we'll be in for a few more lopsided seasons than we've been seeing. I think that the former is more likely, which would just show again how cheap the teams that won't spend really are. And get ready for 9 years and $270 million Albert Pujols.
   28. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 06, 2010 at 09:29 AM (#3703746)
This means Paul Konerko will get infinity dollars per year for infinity years, with a player option, full no-trade, and access to Mrs. Kotsay.
Mrs. Kotsay is worth Jason Werth money.
   29. BFFB Posted: December 06, 2010 at 09:36 AM (#3703747)
Or.... every other GM recognizes that Washington are crazy and this contract is an abberration. Previous years have seen batshit insane contracts without them "setting a market" for everyone else. Others can try but chances are they'll just get laughed at.
   30. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 06, 2010 at 09:52 AM (#3703749)
In that case, a bunch of guys don't sign until late January for a couple of years because they take that long to come down off their Jayson Werth money ideas.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: December 06, 2010 at 10:44 AM (#3703752)
Let me reiterate ... Soriano was 8/136 and that was in 2007. It covers ages 31-38. He was coming off seasons of OPS+ 100, 109, 135 or 8.2 WAR. He had put up good defensive numbers in his one season in LF.

Werth's contract makes a lot more sense than that one did. You've got 4 years of salary inflation, he's coming off seasons of 121, 129, 145 (12.6 WAR), and we have more confidence he's a good defensive OF.

It's a bad contract but it's not really close to Hampton, Zito, Soriano, Howard bad.
   32. True Blue Posted: December 06, 2010 at 11:00 AM (#3703755)
When did Ben Bernanke become the Nationals GM?
   33. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 06, 2010 at 11:13 AM (#3703758)
You guys are tough to please. If they don't spend the money, some people are going to say they are pocketing the money. If they try to sign great players, they get outbid by the bigger market teams. If they don't overpay significantly, the good but not great players will go someplace where they think they can win.
   34. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 06, 2010 at 11:34 AM (#3703759)
#36- I sort of agree. As a foil, consider the San Diego situation. The Nats' situation seems preferable. I'd rather be rooting for the Nats than the Padres even if the San Diego move is probably more reasonable in a vacuum.
   35. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: December 06, 2010 at 01:50 PM (#3703771)
But why not just resign Dunn who just went to Chicago for half the $$ and years and was a fan favorite? Makes no sense.
   36. Mo Vaughn Down The Road Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:03 PM (#3703774)
“For elite players like this to come to Washington, D.C., obviously we have to extend the contract,” Rizzo said. “We understand where we're at in our process. Someday, in the very near future, we hope that we will not have to give extra money, extra years to acquire a player.”


I don't buy this. You can get good through the farm system first, like Tampa and Florida did. Then, you can keep the guys you developed, if you have the money. Overpaying to prove your cred just says to me Rizzo was feeling the heat for losing Dunn.
   37. bfan Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:05 PM (#3703777)
"BTW, Jayson Werth suddenly has an opinion on the capital Gains tax."

Why? This is ordinary income. Now he might have an opinion on the marginal tax rates on ordinary income.
   38. TerpNats Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:19 PM (#3703780)
You guys are tough to please. If they don't spend the money, some people are going to say they are pocketing the money. If they try to sign great players, they get outbid by the bigger market teams. If they don't overpay significantly, the good but not great players will go someplace where they think they can win.
I concur. The Nats are damned if they do, damned if they don't -- and right now, they're still in a situation where they have to run twice as hard to get half as far. Rizzo wasn't giving away any secrets with his comments; that's what you have to do when you're in a market that hasn't seen a pennant since 1933, a contender since 1945, and for a third of a century had no franchise at all.

I agree Werth is a complementary player, and this move is sort of reminiscent of Bobby Bonilla going to the Mets. However, the '93 Mets didn't have Bryce Harper waiting in the farm system (heck, he'd just been born!).
   39. Dale Sams Posted: December 06, 2010 at 02:41 PM (#3703788)
It's a bad contract but it's not really close to Hampton, Zito, Soriano, Howard bad.


No, the measure of a bad contract is "Would my team (the Red Sox) have paid him that much, cross-referenced with the general consensus of the insane, fringe element of said team"

Survey says: Bat-#### crazy.
   40. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:04 PM (#3703800)
But why not just resign Dunn who just went to Chicago for half the $$ and years and was a fan favorite?

Perhaps the Nationals brain trust places a higher value on defensive ability than the BTF crowd. Not sure there is another explanation.

Given Werth's age and relatively short resume for this type of contract, he's a risk, but the Nationals have to take some chances if the franchise is going to move forward. The fans are restless, Strasberg is out for 2011, Harper isn't likely to be ready, and the Lerners were close to being saddled with the label of "not caring about winning" - something that could have crippled the brand. Getting a quality free agent probably requires an overpay under these circumstances. Kudos to the Nats for going for it.
   41. formerly dp Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3703801)
You guys are tough to please. If they don't spend the money, some people are going to say they are pocketing the money. If they try to sign great players, they get outbid by the bigger market teams. If they don't overpay significantly, the good but not great players will go someplace where they think they can win.


It's not the AAV, though that's an overpay, but the years. A lot depends on 1) how good a hitter he'll be outside of Philly, and 2) how well he ages. WRT #2, I think Werth's a tough guy to predict, because he was, for a host of reasons, an extremely late bloomer.
   42. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:09 PM (#3703803)
You guys are tough to please. If they don't spend the money, some people are going to say they are pocketing the money. If they try to sign great players, they get outbid by the bigger market teams. If they don't overpay significantly, the good but not great players will go someplace where they think they can win.


What's tough? Sign the best players in baseball for slightly below market value while developing superstars through the draft and minor league system while creating a payroll structure that is both fiscally responsible and flexible while not turning a profit or losing money while making the playoffs regularly but not so regularly that failing to win the World Series cheapens the season.

Piece of cake.
   43. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:16 PM (#3703808)
Rizzo wasn't giving away any secrets with his comments;


Maybe, but it doesn't start his relationship with the fans off on the best footing: "Here's our shiny new free agent hitter; by the way, he demanded extra $$$ to play in front of you chumps."
   44. formerly dp Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:26 PM (#3703815)
Maybe, but it doesn't start his relationship with the fans off on the best footing: "Here's our shiny new free agent hitter; by the way, he demanded extra $$$ to play in front of you chumps."


He could just cite cost of living differences...
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:29 PM (#3703817)
No, the measure of a bad contract is "Would my team (the Red Sox) have paid him that much, cross-referenced with the general consensus of the insane, fringe element of said team"
Well, if Gonzalez is worth $23M, then $18M isn't particularly strange for Werth. Werth is 32, while Gonzalez's contract starts at age 30, so it's really just those two years tacked on the end that are the problem.

They are a problem, sure, but they're a problem in 2017. I can understand why Nats fans wouldn't be terribly upset about that.
   46. Dale Sams Posted: December 06, 2010 at 03:50 PM (#3703824)
FWIW, here is a poll I ran on PSD awhile back, asking 'Who would you rather overpay to get on the Sox'. Got Dunn exactly right. I was surprised a little that there was no clear-cut winner other than Beltre lagging behind. I deliberatly left AGon out because I felt even if I said 8 years-25 per he would have won running away.


Beltre: 5 years-18.5mill per / 4 votes 11.11%
Crawford: 7 years-18.5mill per / 9 votes 25.00%
Werth: 5 years-19.5 mill per / 12 votes 33.33%
Dunn: 4 years-15 mill per / 11 votes 30.56%
   47. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: December 06, 2010 at 04:14 PM (#3703835)

I don't buy this. You can get good through the farm system first, like Tampa and Florida did. Then, you can keep the guys you developed, if you have the money. Overpaying to prove your cred just says to me Rizzo was feeling the heat for losing Dunn.


Most everyone ripped on the Tigers during the 04-05 offseasons, when they overpaid guys like Pudge and Magglio because it was the only way to get guys to Detroit. Coupled with a revamped farm system, it turned the entire franchise around.

I don't love Werth, and I don't like the deal, but I can understand the strategy.
   48. JL Posted: December 06, 2010 at 04:21 PM (#3703839)
Most everyone ripped on the Tigers during the 04-05 offseasons, when they overpaid guys like Pudge and Magglio because it was the only way to get guys to Detroit. Coupled with a revamped farm system, it turned the entire franchise around.

I don't love Werth, and I don't like the deal, but I can understand the strategy.


I agree. In addition, the Lerner's have a reputation of being cheap so far. The payroll has been low, and the perception among some fans (an admittedly small and select sample being those I talk to) is that they don't care if they put a winning team out there. Coupled with losing Dunn, and I think the Nats had to do something. Werth was not the best move (I would have prefered Crawford), but I think something like this was necessary.
   49. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 06, 2010 at 05:10 PM (#3703889)
I think the Nats had to do something. Werth was not the best move (I would have prefered Crawford)

Maybe Crawford wasn't interested in coming to DC or his price was even higher?
   50. Cris E Posted: December 06, 2010 at 05:29 PM (#3703910)
He could just cite cost of living differences...

Or weak public schools. I've heard ballplayers really value good schools.
   51. JL Posted: December 06, 2010 at 05:37 PM (#3703921)
Maybe Crawford wasn't interested in coming to DC or his price was even higher?

An absolutely fair point. I think Crawford at that money would have been a better deal for the Nats, but I have no idea if the Nats approached him or not, or what Crawford's reaction was. Werth may well have been Plan B. But I just don't think Werth deal was all that terrible, given the overall issues for the franchise.
   52. Steve Treder Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:02 PM (#3703952)
What's tough? Sign the best players in baseball for slightly below market value while developing superstars through the draft and minor league system while creating a payroll structure that is both fiscally responsible and flexible while not turning a profit or losing money while making the playoffs regularly but not so regularly that failing to win the World Series cheapens the season.

Piece of cake.


Love it.
   53. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:08 PM (#3703956)
Let me reiterate ... Soriano was 8/136 and that was in 2007. It covers ages 31-38. He was coming off seasons of OPS+ 100, 109, 135 or 8.2 WAR. He had put up good defensive numbers in his one season in LF.


And while not everyone thought so at the time everyone NOW sees that Soriano's deal was bad
What has always intrigued me is how agents cite deals like Soriano's as evidence of the "going rate", yet many time the deals they cite are [pretty good arguments if you are a GM for not signing such deals.

I like Werth, hes a good player, but the odds of this being a good deal are very small- the odds of it being poor are quite good, the odds of it being a disaster deal are higher than it being a good deal.
   54. McCoy Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:22 PM (#3703977)
Who didn't think the Soriano contract was bad? I think everybody was pretty much hoping that Soriano would be good enough early on to get the Cubs to the promise land so that when he turned into an albatross we wouldn't care.
   55. WhoWantsTeixeiraDessert Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:28 PM (#3703988)
It's not my money, and as far as I can tell this chunk probably comes out of their profit and can't be an excuse to blow something else important off. Getting a good player on the team for awhile is a great idea. Lee won't come here, Crawford probably wouldn't come here, and on down the list. They tried to "overpay" for other free agents were shunned. Considering what's on the roster, I can't say this is a bad deal, because it may be that Dunn was about the only good player willing to play here even with overpaying. You're left with signing Marquis-types who can't even live up to their mediocre status and are placeholders for future talent that may never mature. There's only so much more marketing of Zimmerman and Zimmermann, and "please don't wait until we might be better and spend money on the active roster in 2012" that can get anyone to show up and buy stuff in 2011.
   56. Swedish Chef Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:33 PM (#3703994)
It's two years too long, but on the other hand the rate is quite reasonable. The two extra years are probably the bonus it takes to convince a premier FA to choose the Nats right now.
   57. Tripon Posted: December 06, 2010 at 06:43 PM (#3704000)
40. bfan Posted: December 06, 2010 at 08:05 AM (#3703777)
"BTW, Jayson Werth suddenly has an opinion on the capital Gains tax."

Why? This is ordinary income. Now he might have an opinion on the marginal tax rates on ordinary income.


Futurama ref.
   58. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 06, 2010 at 07:01 PM (#3704023)
What teams have successfully bought their way into a different place on the success cycle?

I think the Detroit example works; they were a go-nowhere team, spent money, and went to the World Series. And Arizona did in the early part of this century.

But others have tried, albeit on a smaller scale. Tampa signed Wade Boggs and Fred McGriff. Baltimore has spent much of the Aughts throwing big, stupid money at veterans in order to compete. Toronto signed Wells and Rios, as a "splash".

In the Nineties, the Pirates spent most of each offseason buying over-thirty FAs to "make Pittsburgh a more attractive destination".

And famously, in 2000, the Rangers blew every other team's doors off, signed A-Rod, and lost ninety games a year with him.

That's just off the top of my head. It isn't my money either (and that's a point that is well-placed by #59), but my opinion is that the "splash to establish legitimacy" doesn't work out very much. And on the merits of the deal from a baseball perspective, I don't even think it's defensible.
   59. Cris E Posted: December 06, 2010 at 07:07 PM (#3704026)
Over the weekend Rany J made a nice case for the Royals to spend huge on Carl Crawford. It's not a terrible investment if you are within sight of the end of the tunnel, which they kind of are with the quality of kids they've got. PIT or TAM when they threw down was a different world from KC 2011.
   60. SOLockwood Posted: December 06, 2010 at 08:24 PM (#3704143)
Is Werth really that highly thought of among his peers? Would players really think, "Wow! The Nationals are really going for it, they signed Werth?"
   61. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 06, 2010 at 09:13 PM (#3704196)
TVerik, the Phils signed David Bell (I shudder at the mere remembrance**) to show their willingness to be a big market team after years of being small market. Supposedly, that made Jim Thome more willing to sign with the Phils.

** The ripple effect of which was:
1. Stalling Utley
2. Trading Placido Polanco v1 for Ugueth Urbina
   62. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: December 06, 2010 at 09:47 PM (#3704227)
I haven't seen a freakout like this (among ownership, not you lot) since Joey Belle signed with the White Sox.
   63. bond1 Posted: December 06, 2010 at 10:26 PM (#3704265)
Jeter should have employed Boras to negotiate his contract. He would have somehow gotten $25 million/5yrs.
   64. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: December 06, 2010 at 10:28 PM (#3704266)
So in less than a week, Tulowitzki's contract has gone from stupid risk to wise bargain!
   65. Walt Davis Posted: December 06, 2010 at 11:57 PM (#3704372)
** The ripple effect of which was:
1. Stalling Utley
2. Trading Placido Polanco v1 for Ugueth Urbina


3. Stalling Howard (a bit)
4. Dumping an injured Thome at half-price

they knew the Red Sox were going to pounce Monday morning, so he headed them off at the pass.

And Werth's agent didn't bother to call the Sox to see if they'd match/beat the offer? Or Werth's agent knew this contract was so batshit crazy that there was no need to call Boston?
   66. Dale Sams Posted: December 07, 2010 at 01:09 AM (#3704442)
The latter.

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