Jayson Werth Rumors

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…

Transaction Reactions: Harang, Werth, Marcum

As we continue on throughout the night here at MLBTR, here are some reactions from executives and the players themselves to the flurry of moves we've seen over the past few days:

Jayson Werth Signing Reactions

Yesterday Jayson Werth signed the third-largest contract ever for an outfielder, as the Nationals locked him up for seven years and $126MM.  He and Vernon Wells figure to be bumped soon by Carl Crawford, though.  Many thought Werth would get five years, a few thought six, but I didn't see anyone predicting seven.  Reactions:

  • ESPN's Keith Law calls the contract "irresponsible" and takes on the "losing teams have to overpay" argument.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says this is "not the drastic overpay that it appears to be on the surface."
  • Yahoo's Jeff Passan says that from Scott Boras' point of view, "This deal wasn’t as much about need as it was capitalizing on eagerness."
  • Talking to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, Mets GM Sandy Alderson remarked, "It makes some of our contracts look pretty good.  I thought they were trying to reduce the deficit in Washington."
  • One GM, upon hearing the length of Werth's contract, told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports it was "absolutely bat—- crazy."  CBS Sports' Danny Knobler says one American League GM "nearly fell over when I told him the terms."
  • The Phillies' offer, which GM Ruben Amaro Jr. deemed "significant," was for three years and about $48MM according to CSNPhilly.com's Jim SalisburyMLB.com's Todd Zolecki notes that a fourth-year vesting option would have increased the value to $60MM.

Odds & Ends: Red Sox, Werth, Padilla, D’Backs

A grab bag of overnight links, as we look forward to updates out of Orlando….

Stark On Crawford, Beltre, Lee, Greinke, Bartlett

In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Jayson Stark discusses the ripple effect that Jayson Werth's $126MM deal will have on the remaining free agents. One AL official opines that it raises Carl Crawford's price in a "big, big way": "He's looking at maybe eight years, $180 million now, maybe 10 years, $190 million." Here are the rest of Stark's hot stove notes:

  • Crawford is the clear top target for the Angels, but in the past they've tried to avoid going as high as eight years for any player, let alone ten.
  • Despite getting Werth's contract done already, Scott Boras often drags out negotiations for his top clients. Stark polled a dozen people across baseball on when Adrian Beltre would sign, and many predicted it wouldn't happen until Christmas or later.
  • Neither the Yankees or Rangers have made a formal offer to Cliff Lee yet, but many of those baseball people polled by Stark expect a deal to get done within the next week.
  • There's good news and bad news for the Royals and Zack Greinke's trade value: with many free agent arms coming off the board already, Greinke has become more valuable in a pitching-thin market. However, according to one AL source, "Greinke has been trying to convince the Royals that it's not a great idea if he's there next year," which reduces Kansas City's leverage.
  • The Diamondbacks haven't totally ruled out trading Justin Upton, though it appears unlikely. Kevin Towers tells Stark "it's going to take somebody a little on the crazy side" to get anything done.
  • There's a sense that Jason Bartlett is the player most likely to be traded this week. However, Stark has trouble finding a team in need of a shortstop that matches up well with the Rays, who would like a late-inning reliever in return.
  • With Werth off the market, the Phillies will look to replace him with a complementary player rather than a big name. Stark lists Scott Hairston, Jeff Francoeur, and Matt Diaz as a few possible targets. Philadelphia has also been trying to find a taker for Raul Ibanez, but would likely have to eat a good chunk of salary to do so.

Odds & Ends: Paulino, Beltre, Werth, Thome

Some links on what has been a very busy day in baseball..

Nats Notes: Pavano, Zimmerman, Pena

The Nationals shocked the world today, and they're not done yet..

  • Even after shelling out $126MM over seven years for Jayson Werth, the Nationals are still looking to make a splash in free agency.  The club is still in on pitcher Carl Pavano, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  
  • Every player on the Nats, excluding Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, is being considered in trade talks, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson.  Josh Willingham, who has long been talked about in trade rumors, seems especially likely to be headed elsewhere now.
  • The Nationals are in the mix for Carlos Pena, but his preference is to stay in Tampa Bay, tweets Ladson. 

Nationals Sign Jayson Werth

Scott Boras landed Jayson Werth a nine-figure contract with a surprise suitor this afternoon. The Nationals signed the free agent outfielder to a seven-year, $126MM deal. In case any doubt remained, this deal shows that it's a good time to be a free agent. Werth turned three productive seasons into the third biggest deal a free agent outfielder has ever signed.

Manny Ramirez ($160MM, 2000) and Alfonso Soriano ($136MM, 2006) are the only outfielders to sign bigger deals than Werth's. Interestingly, Vernon Wells and Barry Zito both signed deals worth exactly as much as the one Boras just negotiated with the Nationals.

The Phillies offered Werth, a Type A free agent, arbitration, but will not receive the Nats' first-round pick as compensation because Washington's pick is protected. Philadelphia will instead receive the Nats' second-round pick and and a compensatory sandwich-round pick.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo appears to have a strong relationship with Boras. The two worked out deals for number one overall selections Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in 2009 and 2010.

It was said earlier this week that the most serious suitors for the 31-year-old were the Phillies, Tigers, and Red Sox.  Those three teams were all in on Werth up until the end, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  While Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that Boston got up to four years on Werth, Alex Speier of WEEI.com hears the Sox never made a formal contract offer to the outfielder.

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki first reported that the two sides were nearing agreement.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) confirmed the deal, Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) first reported the length of the contract and Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported the deal's terms (via Twitter). Rosenthal later tweeted the financial breakdown. Werth's $4MM signing bonus will be payable between January 2011 and January 2012, and his annual salaries are as follows: $10MM, $13MM, $16MM, $20MM, $21MM, $21MM, and $21MM.