Will Phillies Be Able To Retain Werth?

The long-term effect of Ryan Howard's new contract extension on the Phillies has been breathlessly debated over the last two days, but Howard's deal also raises questions about Philadelphia's short-term future. Outfielder Jayson Werth is set to hit free agency following this season, and it's unclear if the Phillies will be able to afford him.

David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News points out that Howard's extension, which starts in 2012, doesn't affect the team's bottom line for next year, but it could impact the Phillies' ability to commit long-term to Werth. Assuming he enjoys a strong 2010 campaign, Werth may be in position to command a deal similar to the four-year, $66M contract Jason Bay signed with the Mets over the winter, which would put the Phillies on the hook beyond 2011.

According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the Phillies' organization believes they'll be able to re-sign Werth, a stance reiterated when GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said Howard's contract wouldn't affect their chances of retaining the 30-year-old. Werth's agent, Jeff Borris, echoed Amaro's sentiment, though he added that it wouldn't be appropriate to say whether he was optimistic about a Werth extension.

The Phillies won't have a ton of money to work with next year if, as Murphy suggests, they hope to keep their payroll around $140MM. They already have about $130MM committed to returning players, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the club has misspent a lot of the money that could have gone to Werth. Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks that the Phils' best move would be to re-sign Werth and find a way to replace Raul Ibanez with prospect Domonic Brown. Considering Ibanez will be owed $11.5MM and will turn 39 next year, moving him may be easier said than done.

While the financial issues involved in re-signing Werth are challenging enough, the Phillies also have to consider the problems facing their offense if he walks. Replacing Werth with Brown would give the team yet another left-handed bat in a lineup that already includes Howard, Ibanez, and Chase Utley.

Zolecki writes that extension discussions with Werth seem to have been put on hold while the Phillies finalized the Howard deal. Now the team will have to hope that Howard's extension, which will likely hamper their negotiating flexibility with Werth, won't entirely kill their chances of retaining the star outfielder.


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35 Comments on "Will Phillies Be Able To Retain Werth?"


NYBravosFan10
5 years 4 months ago

If Ruben can find some way of fitting both Werth and Domonic on the team then he should be considered the best in the business. If they can find some way of moving Ibanez then they’d be all set. But like it says in the original post. Moving him might be difficult. Not a whole lot of teams want a 39 yeard old guy with power but questionable fielding. Maybe an AL team with desperate need for a DH but I don’t think so.

5 years 4 months ago

How about Ibanez to the Mariners. He seemed like a fan favorite their and he could definitely help at DH or LF. Say the Phillies eat 3M this year and next.

5 years 4 months ago

If Ibanez was on the open market, do you actually believe that anyone would pay $19M over two years for him? Probably not.

At this point, it would be a victory if the Phillies can shed the vast majority of his contract.

aap212
5 years 4 months ago

The Phillies got Werth’s best years for cheap. Declare victory and let him walk and decline expensively elsewhere.

5 years 4 months ago

I have a feeling that werth may take a Rowand type type 5 years 60 million maybe a little more like 66 million. both sides win he gets his payday and phils get their RH power bat

5 years 4 months ago

But you have to sit down and pray like hell that your situation doesn’t turn as sour as the one in Chicago did.

As a Cubs fan, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that signing an entire veteran core to long-term deals can go really, really wrong. That team could be screwed by 2012 if things don’t go right, which isn’t to say that they won’t.

bomberj11
5 years 4 months ago

My friend and I were talking about it yesterday… and we couldn’t agree more.

5 years 4 months ago

I mean, it’s a strategy that can work. If the Phillies win a World Series in the next few seasons, then it was absolutely worth it, even if they struggle for a couple years.

But the Phillies had so many chips to play around with like a year ago, and now they’ve spent hundreds of millions and traded the majority of their best young players in the hopes of winning in the next couple seasons.

aap212
5 years 4 months ago

Rowand years and money are too much. Let him walk, sign a capable backup in case Brown isn’t totally ready, take your draft picks, and smile.

scottandwtb
5 years 4 months ago

Phils need to re-up with Werth right now. 6 years at $22 mil per should do the trick.

leviticus6688
5 years 4 months ago

That seems to be the theme in Philly right now.
After that, they can tack on some more years to Halladay’s contract. Maybe 6 more at $45MM? Then of course they’ll need to sign Rollins for another 10 years at least.

But seriously, I’d explore trade possibilities for Ibanez and try to re-up Werth at 3-4 years, 14-15 per before the season ends. Of course if Werth of his agent know what’s best they’ll wait till the end of the year and command more.

5 years 4 months ago

Way too much cash.

At his best, the past two seasons, he’s been roughly a 5 WAR player, worth roughly $21-22M per season. And I’m sorry, but betting that a soon-to-be 31-year-old player will maintain his production for the next six years after this season is just not a good idea.

scottandwtb
5 years 4 months ago

I was being a little sarcastic. Sorry if that didn’t come across.

wayne_gomes
5 years 4 months ago

I would not advocate that proposed deal either, but I have seen these type of WAR/$ breakdowns a lot lately, and I think they are missing the concept that the value of a win does not stay constant. It has been increasing steadily year to year, and will continue to over time. So 5 wins in 2011 or 2012 or 2013 wouldn’t be worth just 22mm anymore, they would be worth increasingly more and more

5 years 4 months ago

Even if you do factor for inflation and Philadelphia’s place on the win spectrum, paying $22M for a ~3-4 WAR outfielder isn’t a good deal.

Most good analysts will factor in some sort of inflation, and of course a win now on a contender is worth significantly more than a win three years from now on a .500 team. Werth just flat out isn’t worth $22M per.

wayne_gomes
5 years 4 months ago

All in all we agree. 22mm too much, 6 years too many.

I would think the Phillies would try to propose something with Bay’s recent deal as the upper limit (since they can objectively argue that he’s been a more consistent and accomplished player). Which is why I threw out 4-52. If that Werth is agreeable, we’ll be lucky. If he sees the Holliday deal and says I want to see what else is out there, then we’ll take the picks (assuming Rube can’t F up that arb decision) and move on

foxtown
5 years 4 months ago

Oh my god… There must be some kind of word for that phenomenon… Oh yeah, INFLATION!

freddysweats
5 years 4 months ago

Jeez…hes not worth a 6 year deal especially at 22 per. If they do that then there is no way they would be able to retain Utley or Hamels or sign any top tier free agent. I personally think Howards contract is awful (yes hes a beast right now but lets see how he looks both on the field and at the plate when hes 34, 35, 36 and making 25 million per). If they extend Werth this team won’t be that good for much longer unless they are planning on developing a whole lot of home grown talent instead of getting already proven talents. As a mets fan I say sign him to this contract, but as a baseball fan I say let him walk.

Truitalian9
5 years 4 months ago

that did the trick for howard!? you think they will give werth that!? nooo wayy. A rowand type deal is the minimum and a bay type deal is the max

wayne_gomes
5 years 4 months ago

Maybe?

The Ibanez 3 year decision is more damaging to Werth’s chances than Ryan’s deal, because without Raul on the books for 2011 they could give Werth a say, 4-52 deal, put 10mm towards 2011 and not have any net increase in payroll (Werth new deal, Hamels, Halladay, Blanton, Victorino raises, arb eligible increases offset by Ibanez, Moyer, Romero, Durbin et al coming off)

5 years 4 months ago

Tell you what you send Ibanez over to the South Side, we send you a c prospect, you eat half the salary.

wayne_gomes
5 years 4 months ago

Done! Where do I sign! Make it a lefty reliever preferably

Truitalian9
5 years 4 months ago

i think werth will be a red sox and crawford will be a yankee

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

I wish it were the other way around

5 years 4 months ago

Everyone remember: IBANEZ HAS A NO TRADE CLAUSE.

Also remember that Brad Lidge makes the same as Ibanez, and really has done NOTHING in a year and a half, other than cash about $20M worth of paychecks. I blame Lidge over the Ibanez deal for the payroll situation. Comparable closers make half to 3/4 of what Lidge makes.

wayne_gomes
5 years 4 months ago

Gillick did the Lidge deal, so tough to get on current management for that. Rube did the Moyer and Ibanez deals all on his own though. We’ll probably end up regretting that 3rd year on Polanco when the time comes as well

Andrew Jones
5 years 4 months ago

He is listed as having ‘no-trade protection’. Does anyone know the details of it? It doesn’t seem to be a full no-trade clause.

Truitalian9
5 years 4 months ago

i think it will take between a rowand and a bay type deal to land him in the off season

bharsh
5 years 4 months ago

San Fran could use a nice right field power hitter. Question is, would the Giants give up decent prospects for a possible rental if they can’t figure a way to sign him.

cbcbcb
5 years 4 months ago

I think Ibanez to Seattle makes a ton of sense, the problem is Seattle got rid of their bad contracts last offseason, so the trade would basically be the Phillies eating a ton of salary. I could even see a deal happen mid-season if Dom Brown is ready.

wayne_gomes
5 years 4 months ago

I can’t see the Mariners taking on his backloaded contract. Unless the Phillies were to pay like 18 mil of it, and that would really defeat the whole purpose for the Phillies

5 years 4 months ago

I don’t see why the Phillies would resign him honestly. Sure, he’s a very good player. But last I checked, there are 3 outfield spots, not 4. Ibanez, Victorino, Brown. You’re going to take a financial hit by trying to move Ibanez, eating most of the salary and getting nothing in return. It’s more likely you’ll get more of your money’s worth by just playing him. And Victorino and Brown don’t seem to be going anywhere.

So, enjoy Werth, offer him arb for his Type A-ness, and grab the prospects. Done. Ibanez + 2 draft picks > $5m paid to Ibanez to play elsewhere + Werth at market value

drumzalicious
5 years 4 months ago

If they ate half of his contract he could be a serviceable DH somewhere for a team.

jwredsox
5 years 4 months ago

How many lefties would be in the phillies lineup if werth were replaced with brown?

Just_MLB
5 years 4 months ago

Shudders at the thought of Werth & Crawford in the Yankee lineup

1 – Crawford
2 – Jeter
3 – Cano
4 – A-Rod
5 – Texiera
6 – Werth
7 – Granderson
8 – Posada ( or Montero )
9 – Gardner

OUCH