Jayson Werth left a good thing in Philadelphia to chase the
Brinks truck that was headed a few hours south to Washington
D.C. When he caught it, Werth didn't have to fight too hard for
the Nationals to turn over the goods. They gladly gave him
a 7-year, $126 million dollar contract.
Since signing that contract, Werth's journey has taken him to
baseball hell where he is going around in circles. Entering
Tuesday night's action, the Nationals right fielder is hitting
.211 with 10 HR's and 37 RBI's. If he had those numbers after
signing a contract like that in New York, Werth would already
have been Ed Whitson-ed out of the Big Apple. Forget about
thumb tacks under the tires, Werth's wheels would've been left
in the parking lot and his car thrown in the East River.
As expected Werth has felt the wrath of those die-hard baseball
fans in D.C. He's been booed, mocked, and laughed at. When you're
last name is Werth and you have a contract like he does, nicknames
comes easy. Werth-less, Werth-a-crap, Werth-a-damn, The New York
Post would have a field day with his last name and listless play.
You can't blame Werth for taking the money. If anyone is stupid
enough to pay a career .269 career hitter that's never driven in
100 runs all that iron, then you'd be fool not to take it. After
finding out the Nationals gave Werth a king's ransom, New York
Mets GM Sandy Alderson said, "I thought we had bad contracts
on the Mets." And added, "I thought they were trying to reduce the
deficit in Washington."
Other executives were laughing as well. After all, Werth was surrounded
by MVP's and future hall of famers when he played in Philadelphia.
With Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard, Werth didn't have
to be "the man". He was a complimentary player who never said
very much and blended in. Yes, Werth is considered by many to
be a 5-tool player, but right now, he's just a tool who can't handle
the pressure of a monster contract. A .211 batting average is hard
to achieve for an every day player who doesn't have to worry about
anyone looking over his shoulder every five minutes.
The Nationals don't know what to do with Werth. He failed as a clean-up
man, then was move around the line-up with not much success. Werth
even his lead-off. Is that sad or what? A 20-million dollar a year player
that's 6'5 and 220lbs hitting lead-off. I don't think that's what Nats GM
Mike Rizzo had in mind when he signed him.
Rizzo, who has made a lot of solid moves since taking over as GM and
the Nats are headed in the right direction. But $126 million dollars for this?
As W.C Fields once said, "There is a sucker born every minute." Rizzo
had a woody for Werth as if he was Brooklyn Decker coming out of
ocean in that skimpy bikini. Rizzo played with Werth's uncle Dickie
Schofield in the minor-leagues and scouted him in high school.
You think Rizzo is not kicking himself for not investing that money
in some pitching, something the Nats and just about every other team
not named the Phillies, desperately needs. Now, the Werth contract is
an albatross around Rizzo's neck and one that could keep the Nats from
where they want to go, faster.
I don't see this one ending well.