Jayson Werth Rumors

Nationals Notes: Harper, Rodriguez, Werth

The latest on the Nationals, who rest today before hosting the last-place Padres this weekend…

  • Top prospect Bryce Harper is hitting his way through the South Atlantic League with the help of his coaches and teammates and as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes, last year's number one pick is just beginning his baseball odyssey. 
  • As Adam Kilgore points out at the Washington Post, Ivan Rodriguez could appeal to the Giants, who lost Buster Posey to the disabled list, possibly for the rest of the season. The Nationals are one of few teams with catching depth to spare.
  • Jayson Werth, who signed a $126MM contract with Washington over the winter, has raised his OPS above .800 for the first time since April 14th and he tells Kilgore that he's feeling good. “I’m working in the right direction," he said. "I’m hitting balls hard, and I’ve got some confidence. I like where I’m at.”

Cafardo’s Latest: Red Sox, Upton, Minaya, Saito

After extending Adrian Gonzalez this week, the Red Sox have guaranteed nearly $300MM to their two big offseason acquisitions, Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. However, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, some baseball people feel that Jayson Werth would have made more sense for the Sox than Crawford. One AL GM says he's "not sure that many of us are unhappy they chose Crawford over Werth," adding that Werth seemed to be a better fit for Boston's lefty-heavy lineup. Here are the rest of the highlights from Cafardo's Sunday Notes:

  • The Red Sox may not have even been in on Crawford or Werth this winter if they had re-signed Jason Bay a year earlier. A National League GM calls Bay leaving Boston "one of the worst decisions both by a team and by the player," suggesting that both sides miss each other.
  • According to Cafardo, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers was willing to deal Justin Upton to the Red Sox in the offseason, but only if he got the Adrian Gonzalez package or Clay Buchholz in return.
  • Several teams have spoken to Omar Minaya about potential job openings. Minaya, who dubs himself a "free agent," says he's still sorting through everything and searching for the best fit, but he could make a decision soon.
  • Cafardo points out that spending time on the disabled list could cost Takashi Saito a good chunk of money this season. Currently on the shelf with a hamstring injury, Saito can earn up to five $100K bonuses based on time spent on the active roster.

NL East Notes: Chipper, Werth, Rollins

The Mets made a minor trade and the Marlins are finalizing their roster. Here's the latest from the other NL East teams…

Quick Hits: Maine, Lerner, Foltynewicz

A few stray items of note coming out of the National League as Thursday winds down …

  • Rockies right-hander John Maine can opt out of his contract with Colorado if he's not on the 25-man roster on June 1, tweets Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post. Maine, who signed a minor league deal with the Rox this offseason, has missed the better part of each of the past two seasons with the Mets due to right arm trouble.
  • The Nationals grabbed headlines this offseason by signing Jayson Werth to a hefty $126MM contract, and though it was widely regarded as a questionable baseball decision, owner Ted Lerner has no shortage of cash, writes Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo! Sports. Lerner, as Kaduk explains, ranks No. 376 on Forbes' list of wealthiest people in the world, and is presently the wealthiest majority owner in baseball.
  • Astros pitching prospect Mike Foltynewicz is looking to build upon the strong professional debut he made in 2010, writes Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner. Astros assistant GM/director of scouting Bobby Heck said that the right-hander probably has the highest ceiling of any Astros minor leaguer. Interestingly, Foltynewicz told Goff that he probably would have gone to the Red Sox at No. 20 overall in last year's First-Year Player Draft had the Astros not nabbed him at No. 19.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Werth, Pavano, Jays, Rays

Seven years ago today, the Yankees signed Eduardo Nunez as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Now 23, Nunez is in the mix to be New York's utility infielder in 2011 after hitting .280/.321/.360 with more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) in his brief big league debut last season (53 PA).

Here are some more notes that have to do with the Yanks and their fellow AL East clubs…

  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the Yankees "have told their scouts to bear down on several teams they think could have starters available" in a trade this summer. The teams they are targeting include the Braves, Angels, A's, White Sox, and Cardinals according to Sherman.
  • Jayson Werth told SI.com's Jon Heyman that he had a "great" meeting with the Red Sox earlier this offseason, after which he figured they would offer six years (Twitter link). They only offered five, so he ended up with the Nationals.
  • Carl Pavano spoke to Kelsie Smith of The Pioneer Press about being pursued by the Yankees this offseason. "I don't think [the past] would be a hindrance, but there would have definitely been obstacles," said Pavano. "I'm not naïve enough to think that there wouldn't have been things I would have had to overcome, especially the trust of the fans and maybe some of the guys that were there. That's reality."
  • Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star notes (on Twitter) that four of the Blue Jays' ten highest paid players are former closers: Jason Frasor, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, and Octavio Dotel.
  • When asked about the payroll disparity between his Rays and other teams in the division, Joe Maddon told Ken Davidoff of Newsday that he's "never seen a dollar bill throw a strike, or hit a homer, or whatever." (Twitter link)

Werth Thinks Phillies Could Have Had Him & Lee

The Phillies added one $100MM player this offseason in Cliff Lee, but they lost another in Jayson Werth. The former Phillies outfielder told Paul Hagen of The Philadephia Daily News that he believes the team could have had both he and Lee if they'd planned things out better…

"I think if they would have played it right they would have had us both," said Werth. "I mean, they traded Cliff away for prospects and then realized that was probably not what they should have done. They ended up paying him a lot more than they would have if they'd signed him the year before. Then we would have had him. Chances are if they had signed him before they traded him, it probably would have made it a little easier to sign me."

Werth said that there are no hard feelings and he understands that the game is a business. Once he learned of Philadelphia's interest in Lee, he concluded that he wasn't coming back. "[It] kind of made it seem like they were playing us against each other a little bit," he added.

The 31-year-old Werth signed with the Nationals about ten days before the Phillies brought Lee back.

NL East Notes: Werth, K-Rod, Phillies, Nationals

Some notes from the NL East as MLBPA leader Michael Weiner meets with the Mets in Florida…

  • Jayson Werth told Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he accepted the Nationals' seven-year, $126MM offer partly because he wanted to help his fellow players. "I think once you get to free agency, you're in a big pool of players and we all really play in one organization and that's MLB," Werth said. "I guess that's how you look at it, so in that respect I was trying to maximize things and also trying to get into a situation I wanted to be in and I think Philly was going in a different direction."
  • Weiner told ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin that he expects the Mets to honor Francisco Rodriguez's contract, which vests at $17.5MM for 2012 if he finishes 55 games in 2011.
  • Bobby Bonilla, who is still on the Mets' payroll is meeting with the team today as an MLBPA representative, according to Newsday's David Lennon (on Twitter).
  • Mike Puma of the New York Post explains that new manager Terry Collins is fiery and ready to get mad. "I give a [expletive] about how this team plays," Collins said.
  • Cliff Lee tells David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News that his side feels fine, though he felt some minor pain earlier.
  • Brookover points out that "guaranteed money does not mean guaranteed success or perfect health," though the Phillies' investment in Lee was understandable.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com that he hopes first overall draft pick Bryce Harper finds out how Spring Training works and learns "what it takes to be a big leaguer" in Nationals camp this year.

Odds & Ends: Lee, Zambrano, Werth, Mets, Uehara

Baseball lost one of its all-time greats tonight; Bob Feller passed away at 92. Rapid Robert won 266 games in his career, every single one of them with the Cleveland Indians. He probably would have cleared the 300 win plateau if he hadn't served in World War II from ages 23-25. Our condolences go out to the Hall of Famer's family…

Rosenthal On Werth, Bill Hall, Cliff Lee

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports leads his latest column by contrasting the value of Zack Greinke and Matt Garza.  Though Greinke is widely viewed as the superior pitcher, Garza comes with an extra year of control at similar overall money.  Either righty would require a huge trade bounty.  On to Rosenthal's other rumors…

  • Jayson Werth's contract includes decent-sized bonuses for strong finishes in the MVP voting.
  • The Dodgers are in discussions with Bill Hall to be their primary left fielder.  Rosenthal feels that such a signing would be the team's last significant move.  Hall's last strong season as a regular was 2006, the 35 home run campaign for the Brewers that earned him a $24MM contract.
  • Rosenthal tweets that the lack of state income tax in Texas has minimal impact in the Cliff Lee talks, since Lee would reside in Arkansas instead.  Rosenthal feels that the income tax-related savings the Rangers could promote would be balanced by a higher salary from the Yankees plus endorsements.  George A. King III of the New York Post offers a similar take.

Odds & Ends: Arroyo, Varitek, Angels, Werth

The Red Sox officially introduced Carl Crawford to Red Sox Nation at a press conference this morning, but that's not the only hot stove news today…