Jayson Werth Rumors
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.”
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.
- The Braves are looking to upgrade their bench with another right-handed bat, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The Braves have been on the lookout for such a player throughout the month of March.
- In a wide-ranging Q&A with David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chipper Jones says the hardest part of getting older is that something hurts every day. But fret not, Braves fans - Chipper's knee has been pain-free for three weeks.
- As Tyler Kepner of the New York Times explains, a visit with a wrist surgeon changed the course of Jayson Werth's career a little more than four years ago. The Nationals lured Werth to Washington this offseason, signing him to a $126MM deal.
- Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins tells Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he has six or seven more years of baseball left. The 32-year-old hits free agency after the season.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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...
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy posted this week's edition of minor league transactions. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports adds (via Twitter) that the Twins have signed infielder Mike Hollimon to a minor league deal. He missed all of 2010 recovering from shoulder surgery.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says (via Twitter) that Derrek Lee is telling teams he'd consider a one-year deal. At least six teams are interested in the free agent first baseman.
- Carlos Zambrano has not yet given the Cubs his consent to trade him, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. The right-hander has a full no-trade clause.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson looks at the impact the Jayson Werth signing will have on 2010 first overall pick (and right fielder) Bryce Harper. The Nationals plan to play Werth in center at least part of the time going forward.
- ESPN New York's Adam Rubin provides the contract details for D.J. Carrasco, Ronny Paulino, and Boof Bonser, while Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun does the same for Koji Uehara.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke to Phillies' general partner, president, and CEO David Montgomery about a variety of topics, including the Lee signing.
- Agent Scott Boras said Werth has a full no-trade clause, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
- Not surprisingly, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has no interest in trading Felix Hernandez, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has heard the trade rumors, but wants to stay in Washington, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Josh Hamilton told Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com that he hasn't thought much about a contract extension.
- MLB's minimum salary will rise to $414K next year, according to the AP (on ESPN.com).
- The A's acquired Jose Rivero, a 20-year-old outfielder selected by the D'Backs in this year's Rule 5 draft, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter).
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.
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...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides the details of Bronson Arroyo's new contract. The righty will earn $6.5MM in 2011, $7MM in 2012, and then $18MM in 2013. All but $3MM of that 2013 salary is deferred, though it all has to be paid up front if he's traded.
- Jason Varitek told MLB.com's Evan Drellich that he was considering retirement earlier this offseason, and that he's glad the Red Sox made his decision for him.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan looks at some other pitchers that signed long-term contracts, with Cliff Lee obviously in mind.
- John A. Tomase of the Boston Herald gives us an inside look at how the Crawford deal went down.
- An Angels source denies that the club matched an offer for Crawford, writes ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes.
- WEEI.com's Rob Bradford tweets that the Angels made Crawford a comparable offer and set a 11pm deadline on Wednesday, but the Red Sox got the deal done at 10:50.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the breakdown of Jayson Werth's contract. His $4MM signing bonus will be paid between January 2011 and January 2012, and his annual salaries are as follows: $10MM, $13MM, $16MM, $20MM, $21MM, $21MM, and $21MM.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun wonders if there's room for the recently acquired Brendan Harris and re-signed Cesar Izturis on the Orioles. Harris is not on the 40-man roster, so he could start the 2011 season in the minors.
- Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle looks at why the Giants and A's have trouble luring free agents to their teams.
- Curious how all of last week's free agent activity affected the 2011 draft order? Then look at the changes here. Once the Kevin Correia and Miguel Olivo signings are made official, two more supplemental first round picks will be added.