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The 2010 or I guess 2011 MLB free agency period has begun and the hot stove is... well it's warming up. The start of baseball free agency isn't quite like how the NFL begins where half the big stars sign by 12:01am. Like the baseball season itself MLB free agency starts with a simmer and builds to a roaring fire.
For the Phillies, the big story this winter is going to be what happens to right fielder Jayson Werth who signed with mega agent Scott Boras and is reportedly looking for a contract in the ballpark of the 7 year $120 million deal given to Matt Holliday by the Cardinals last year. Werth's deal won't be that long but at those numbers, it would seem unlikely that the Phillies would be bringing Werth back... However, according to Boras the Phils do have that kind of cash.
"The Yankees are a Goliath," Boras said. "George [Steinbrenner] built them with the idea of the word best. The Phillies are now Goliaths. The reality of it is, they have the ability to do what they need to do to retain their players. It's merely a matter of choice. It's not a matter of good business, because I think everybody would agree they've made some really good business decisions. They've all proven to be fruitful economically as far as franchise value increase, future television negotiations, fans. Everything is going well. Somebody asked me if they can have a $200 million payroll. Of course they could. It would be good business to do so.
"This is really a matter of choice for them. Tip your cap to them. It's nice to be in a position to have those choices."
Somewhat complicating things for Boras, is that he also represents Werth's likely replacement Domonic Brown. So really, it's a win-win situation for him. Shocker. He has said that he's already been in talks with the Phillies about a possible new deal for Werth. The Boston Red Sox have also reportedly been in contact with Boras regarding Werth and figure to be a major player for his services next season.
In addition to making a decision on Werth, the Phillies have almost an entire bullpen to fill out. Brad Lidge & Ryan Madson will be back plus Danys Baez is under contract for another year... but aside from those three it's wide open. Some help could come internally from Scott Mathieson, Antonio Bastardo ect but surely the team will also look to bring in a free agent arm or two. One candidate that I would think Phillies fans would be happy to see back would be Jose Contreras, who is a free agent and really did yeoman's work for the club last season.
Things are quiet so far for the NL East champs, but GM Reuben Amaro has a history of striking kinda quick. Some might say he acts before the market is set and ends up overpaying in money and years (cough Ibanez cough) but you can't accuse the guy of being afraid to make a big move (cough Roy Halladay cough).
According to CSNPhilly’s Leslie Guidel, the Phils have hooked up once again with J.C. Romero. Contract details have yet to be released, but since the Phils just declined his $4.5 million option, you would think it would be for significantly less than that and about a year, maybe with another option. Update: Matt Gelb tweets it's for $1.1 million.
After the Dennys Reyes signing fell through, Ruben Amaro was rumored to be in the market again for a left-handed reliever. Not satisfied with the prospect of going into the 2011 season with Antonio Bastardo as the only lefty in the pen, it was speculated that he was looking at guys like Will Ohman and Ron Mahay to fill the void. A few days ago, Romero was floated as a possibility.
J.C. still has very good stuff when he’s healthy and can harness it. His control has been especially poor the past two injury-filled seasons, where he’s walked 42 in 53.1 innings. His strikeout numbers going down and his home runs allowed going up are also indicative of his dwindling career. Somehow though, his ERA was still a respectable 3.68 and should help Bastardo ease into the job of being a dependable LOOGY.
Whether that snag was that the Phillies gave all their money to Cliff Lee, he didn’t say… The deal had reportedly been for one year and $1.1 million. The book on Reyes was that he could get lefties out, kept the ball in the park, but walked too many guys. Also, he looks like the late Big Pun.
So for those scoring at home, the net of this week is Cliff Lee in and Dennys Reyes out. Funny enough, when it first reported that all the Phillies came away from the winter meetings with was Reyes, Ruben Amaro hinted that the team had been trying to make something big happen but couldn’t finish the deals.
“We’ve done some things where we tried to shoot for the moon,” Amaro said. “We laid some groundwork on some of those. But the possibilities of that happening are remote. We’ve run under the mantra of, ‘If you’re not trying, you’re not trying.”
You’d have to assume that some of the groundwork he was referring to was the Cliff Lee deal.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, & GM Ruben Amaro Jr joined 610 WIP to talk about the teams’ signing of Cliff Lee. Charlie Manuel said he reminded Amaro before the offseason “Don’t forget about Cliff.”
"When the season was over we talked about it in the office. I remember bringing it up and I think I said something to him, ‘Don’t forget Cliff.’ And he says, ‘Charlie believe me, we will do what we can. I will definitely watch that.’ When the money started getting big with the Yankees and Texas, I didn’t know that we had a shot or not. I think Cliff… evidently he showed today how much he liked us and he proved that he wanted to pitch for us. He let guys know that it was definitely on his mind from the start. He said that today in his conference, which was great. Our city and our team and our players they are the ones that really kind of won Cliff over and I think of course he did such a great job for us and he is a huge addition to our rotation."
Amaro discussed a bit about how tough it is be a big league GM.
"Well you know naturally everybody is human. To a point, sure, but at the same time I have to look at the big picture here and, listen, we are not going to make the right decisions all the time. We are going to be criticized. That is the nature of this job. If you are not tough-skinned enough to handle it you shouldn’t be in this business. Fortunately for me, I was a terrible player, I got booed all the time. So I was already for this, ‘Ruben you stink! Why are you back in Philly?’ Does it bother you? Sure it does, but everybody is human, but at the same time that is occupational hazard. You have got to kind of live with it. Me personally, I just have to know that we are not going to make the right decisions all the time. It is not going to happen. We are human beings just like the players. They are not going to make the pitch all the time, they are not going to get a hit all the time. This is part of the nature of the beast, so hopefully you make more of the right decisions than the wrong ones."
Read the rest of the transcript over on Sports Radio Interviews
Nolan Ryan is part owner and president of the Texas Rangers. He was also seemingly the guy leading the charge to get Cliff Lee to return to Texas. The hall of fame pitcher spoke with ESPN radio in Dallas and said he was as surprised as anyone that the Lee chose the Phillies at the last minute. Like everyone, Ryan seemed to think it was a two team race between the Rangers and Yankees.
In fact, the only time Ryan had heard about Philadelphia before Lee signed there was during a conversation the two had at Lee’s home in Arkansas
“I really don’t know, but I reflect back on a conversation we had in in Little Rock the first time that Chuck and I and J.D. went over there. We were sitting around having lunch and Cliff made the statement that he really enjoyed Philadelphia when he was there and enjoyed playing there and that he would consider going back there. That was the only time I had heard Philadelphia mentioned until this weekend when rumors started floating around.”
He was asked whether he was totally shocked when Lee signed with Philly?
“Yeah I really was. I really thought that we weren’t really seeing any rumors around and they were mainly about the Yankees so I thought they were probably trying to make a decision between our offer and the Yankees offer and then all of the sudden, bang.”
Bang, Reuben happened.
Cliff Let met the Philadelphia media today just a few hours after passing his physical and signing his 5-year $120 million deal with the Phillies. He began by saying he never wanted to leave.
"From the moment I got here, I knew it was something special…getting a chance to be part of this team was a no-brainer". It feels great to land back in Philly….I never wanted to leave in the first place"
He also admitted that the lure of the National League helped draw him to Philadelphia, "I prefer National League baseball over the American style of baseball," said Lee. "I like to hit. I like to face the other pitcher instead of the DH."
Lee said the Phillies had not been major contenders for his services until the very end. "This kind of developed in the last 4 or 5 days" he said. He indicated that there had been some preliminary talks early in the free agency period but until the very end he as facing a decision between only the Rangers and Yankees. Lee said of the Phillies involvement, "I was always hoping that was a possibility but I didn’t know how much of a possibility it was."
Phillies GM Reuben Amaro followed up that question saying that the team felt the deal was dead until Cliff, his wife, and agent came to the Phillies and indicated that Philadelphia was where they wanted to be. That motivated the Phillies to get back involved in the process and ultimately led to the signing.
Amaro was asked whether if Jayson Werth accepted the contract he was offered, whether it would have precluded their signing of Lee? "Not to slight our former right fielder but we believed this would have a greater impact. I believe in pitching and defense and if this was a choice, then I’m pretty comfortable with the decision we made"
Speaking of Werth, Cliff Lee said "When he found out I was coming here, he wasn’t the happiest person in the world is all I’ll say."
Lee was asked what it was about Philadelphia that was so attractive to he and his family, "The intensity you can feel when you get in the game. Every game has an excitement to it. I don’t know what the fans do to create that much more volume and excitement but there’s something extra here. They don’t need the teleprompter to tell them to get excited. The feeling of playing on the field feels different than anywhere else."
Lee said that his family’s love of Philadelphia when they were here was a big part of the reason he decided to come back. "We decided that this is where we were going to be the happiest and where we had the best chance to win" he said.
He concluded, "Hopefully this is where I end my career."
The full details of Cliff Lee’s deal with the Phillies are out. At a minimum Lee’s deal is for 5 years and $120 million. He has a vesting option in the contract that could extend it to six years, $135 million. The deal also includes a partial no trade clause. Any guesses as to who might be on that list?
SBNation.com learned the details of the vesting option.
The 2016 option kicks in if Lee throws at least 200 innings in 2015, or if he throws at least 400 innings between 2014-2015. If he reaches those innings he makes his full $135 million or the Phillies have an option to buy him out for $12.5 mil.
As Jeff Sullivan points out, Lee has thrown for over 200 innings five times in his career. He’s also thrown for 667 innings over the last three years. The guy is a horse and he goes deep in to games. So barring an injury down the road, it’s not unlikely that he’ll reach that vesting option.
Earlier this morning Jon Heyman, who appears to have been the guy who broke the Cliff Lee story, was reporting that the Phillies had a deal in place with the Boston Red Sox for Joe Blanton and his $17 million contract. Ken Rosenthal was also reporting discussions between the teams.
After taking on upwards of $120 million in salary as part of the Cliff Lee deal, the Phillies are understandably looking to shed some salary. Blanton, who is making a lot of money and would be no better than a fifth starter in the Phils rotation, is clearly the guy considered “surplus to requirements.” Between guys like Vance Worley or Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies have arms in the organization that would make for a perfectly acceptable fifth starter on the cheap.
Blanton, who is due about $17 million over the next two years and is considered a decent #3 type rotation pitcher on an average team isn’t a bad option for teams now that the starting pitching market has been all but gutted. The righty becomes even more attractive if the Phillies offered to eat some of his salary.
If a deal did happen with Boston, it would be a sneaky move by the Sox to more or less help the Phillies steal Cliff Lee from the Yankees. In an offseason where they already got Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, helping to keep Cliff Lee away from the Bronx might be their craftiest move yet.
The details of Cliff Lee’s deal with the Phillies are starting to emerge. He certainly took a discount to play in Philadelphia, but that’s doesn’t mean he isn’t getting paid.. The word is that he will sign a five year, $100+ million deal that reportedly also includes a vesting option for a sixth year.
The rumors were that the Yankees had a 7 year $150+ million offer on the table. So while the Phillies deal certainly falls short in terms of guaranteed money, the per year money probably isn’t far off from the Yankees deal. The question now becomes how the Phillies pay for this deal. The Phillies ownership is nearly anonymous and not much has really ever been known about their finances. Certainly they’ve been making a ton of money over this recent Phillies run (128 straight sellouts) so it’s possible that they’ve just decided to up the budget. However, there are likely to be some other pieces that fall in the wake of this deal. Most of the speculation is centered around Joe Blanton, who is owed $17 million over the next two seasons. The Phillies could look to move his contract now.
The Phils also have a good chunk of money coming off the books in 2011, so it’s certainly possible that a lot of this Lee money is coming form there.
According to Jerry Crasnick, the shiftiest man in baseball and GM of the Philadelphia Rotations, Ruben Amaro, is looking to move his 5th starter, Joe Blanton. After getting Cliff Lee for what appears to be 5-6 years for over $100 million, Blanton is now very expendable. It’s hard to imagine what teams would be really interested in helping the Phillies unload some of their salary, which has ballooned to Yankees/Red Sox levels in recent years, after the biggest coup of the offseason, but if anyone can do it, it’s Amaro.
Seriously, in less than three years, Amaro has acquired Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cliff Lee again. And that’s only in the rotation. Has anyone ever had more control of the pursestrings of the Phillies ownership than Amaro? He is hell-bent on winning another World Series, and right now, it looks like the Phillies are on pace to do that. Vance Worley is in line to take the 5th starter’s job if Blanton does, in fact, get traded.
But where’s Zack Greinke in all of this?
This is undoubtedly the coup of the offseason. Multiple sources are reporting that Cliff Lee has will sign a five year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. SI’s Jon Heyman has confirmed it. Evan Grant from the Dallas Morning News confirmed it. Now even the Texas Rangers are confirming it... This is real.
Rumors started to gain steam as a “mystery third team” entered the bidding for Lee late. Before then, it was seen as fait accompli that Lee was just deciding between the Rangers and Yankees. The news that the Phillies were the mystery team broke this evening.
Then it got crazy. One MLB writer after another started saying Lee was leaning toward the Phillies and would reportedly even be open to leaving as much as $50 million guaranteed on the table because he and his family enjoyed their previous time so much. Even then though, you had to wonder whether it was just his agent looking to get some extra money out of the Yankees… A modern ballplayer can’t possibly take less money to go somewhere he loves right?
Turns out that was wrong. Cliff Lee is a Phillie once again and he immediately gives the Phillies the unquestioned best starting rotation in baseball. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, & Roy Oswalt.
For once, a player is going to stand at a podium and say it wasn't all about the money... and he's going to be telling the truth. Remember what Cliff Lee said when he was traded away?
"I enjoyed my time there. I had as much fun playing baseball there as I ever have in my whole life. So that’s how strongly I feel about it. It was an unbelievable situation, it was a lot of fun, and I loved everything about it.”
Congratulations to Lee for doing what he thought was right, congrats to Reuben Amaro for being the sneakiest SOB in baseball and pulling off the coup of the offseason, and congrats to us for being lucky enough to be Phillies fans right now.
Things are starting to get interesting. Earlier tonight, Ken Rosenthal surprised us by saying that the Phillies were still in the bidding for Cliff Lee’s services. Now Comcast Sportsnet’s Jim Salisbury, who seemingly breaks every big Phils story, is citing a source that tells him the Phillies are a “finalist” for Lee and that a decision is coming soon.
In the Rosenthal story we highlighted the potential problems with a Lee deal. Simply put, it’s money. To give Lee the kind of cash he’s looking for the Phils will have to clear some major payroll while also raising the budget.
So is someone raising our hopes for nothing? Is this just an agent planted story to squeeze a few extra bucks out of New York? Could we be in for an early Christmas present? It’s hard to say. At this point, you’d have to bet against the Phils getting Lee back, but unless both Rosenthal and Salisbury are wrong.. they’re at least in this thing. So anything could happen. If you don’t believe that, go look at the Washington Nationals roster.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Phillies are still in the bidding for free agent pitcher Cliff Lee. While he said the extent of the Phillies involvement in the process is unknown, a source tells him that the Phils are “not out.”
Until now, it seems like the Cliff Lee sweepstakes was down to the Yankees and Rangers. Problem is while there’s little doubt Reuben Amaro would love to bring Lee back, it’s hard to see where they’d come up with the cash to do it. The team has $146 million on the payroll for next season. To make room for Lee they’d have to find a taker for Joe Blanton’s $8.5 million dollar deal and maybe jettison some other players as well. Even after that, they’d probably have to come up with upwards of $10 to $15 million in the budget.
Rosenthal acknowledges another source that expressed skepticism over the Phillies ability to make the deal work.
Another source with knowledge of the Phillies’ budget said then that it would take, “Nothing short of a miracle,” for the team to make the finances work.
So it’s extremely unlikely the Phillies could make a deal for Lee work, but for some reason either the team or the media or both feel the need to keep our poor hopes alive…
The Inquirer's Matt Gelb has confirmed that the Phillies have reached a one year deal with former Cardinals reliever Dennys Reyes. He'll make $1.1 million this season with a club option for a second year. The option becomes mutual if he appears in 70 games next season.
The book on Reyes is that he's a groundball pitcher who gives up too many walks.
Phillies GM Reuben Amaro seemed resigned that Reyes was the best they were going to get out of the winter meetings this year, despite the fact that they explored some major moves.
|2010 - Dennys Reyes||3-1||59||0||0||0||1||3||38.0||34||15||15||2||21||25||3.55||1.45|
CBS Sports is reporting that the Philadelphia Phillies have interest in former Tigers' OF Magglio Ordonez. The six-time All-Star held a workout today for several MLB teams to prove that he's healed from the ankle injury that plagued him last season. Reports are that his agent, Scott Boras, is looking for a two deal in the area of $8 to $10 million per year for the 36-year-old slugger.
Boras says that the interest in Ordonez has increased since Jayson Werth came off the market.
"Magglio is a guy that has gotten a lot of interest from a lot of teams, now that Jayson has signed. He’s a middle-of-the-order guy. Great batting average. Productive guy. A veteran player. A winner. There are a lot of things about Magglio that fit a broad base of teams. Once Jayson signed, a lot of teams interested in Jayson are now interested in Magglio."
Ordonez is a right-handed bat and as a hitter is superior to Jayson Werth. He's one of the better pure hitters in the last decade period.. but he is 36 years old now. While he may not be likely to regress significantly as a hitter, there are legitimate questions about how many games a team can reasonably expect him to play in the outfield for the rest of his career. For a National League team that doesn't have the option of DH-ing him, it makes the potential $20 million price tag prohibitive. You need a guy to play pretty much every day if you're investing $10 million a year in him.
For that reason, I'm pretty skeptical of the Phillies interest in Ordonez. Most likely, the Phillies are being mentioned by Boras because they're a team with some money and in need of a right outfield bat. He's going to want other teams to think the Phillies are in the mix.
That said, the Phillies did give 36-year-old Raul Ibanez a three-year deal worth $10 mil a year. So in that sense, maybe they don't see two years for $20 mil as too much for Ordonez, who's a better hitter than Raul.
According to reports, left handed journeyman reliever Dennys Reyes is close to signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. We noted last week that the Phillies were showing interest in Reyes, who most recently was with the St. Louis Cardinals.
|2010 - Dennys Reyes||3-1||59||0||0||0||1||3||38.0||34||15||15||2||21||25||3.55||1.45|
The two clear items on the Phillies shopping list this winter, a righty bat for the outfield and a lefty arm for the pen. The latter could come in the form of former Dodger George Sherrill. The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Phillies are the "favorite" to sign the lefty with the Baltimore Orioles also in the running.
most in the industry believe that he will sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, who are very much interested in the big lefty. Sherrill was signed out of the independent league by Charley Kerfeld, a special assistant to Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr. Kerfeld and Sherrill remain friends. The Phillies also need left-handed bullpen help, and obviously give Sherrill the best opportunity to get back to the playoffs.
Sherrill had a back injury last season, which almost certainly contributed to him having his worst season as a pro. He pitched to a 6.69 ERA, which is almost twice his career average. ESPN summed Sherrill up nicely saying "he's left-handed, under 40 and has a track record of success. He won't be out of work long."
Sherrill was an all star in 2008 when he was the closer for the Orioles.
The LA Times is reporting that the Phillies have expressed interest in Los Angeles right fielder Juan Rivera as they continue to search for a right handed bat to help fill the void left by Jayson Werth. Rivera’s 2009 was nearly identical to Werth’s 2010 as he hit .287 with 25 home runs and 88 RBI. Last year Werth hit .296 with 27 HRs and 85 RBI. Rivera did regress in 2010, hitting .252 with 15 homers and 52 RBI.
That said, Rivera’s role did diminish last season after the Angels called up centerfielder Peter Bourjos and moved Torii Hunter to right. If the Angeles were able to strike a deal with Carl Crawford, Rivera would likely be expendable. He’s due to make $5.25 million next year, which is the final year of his deal. Were the Phillies to take on the full contract, it’s possible that they’d could get him for minimal prospects.
Plus, he’s not Jeff Francoeur.
Yes, Brian Bass, he of the 12.27 ERA in four games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, will come to camp as a starter, according to Matt Gelb. I can’t really say anything good about him, having pitched in 101 Major League games with Baltimore, Minnesota and Pittsburgh, and only 4 of them as a starter. His 104/85 K/BB ratio is mostly hideous in 183 innings and a 1.1 HR/9 is pretty ugly as well. In 2003, he was ranked as the 8th best prospect in the Kansas City Royals system.
He’ll be a warm body out of camp and almost definitely an end of the rotation starter for Lehigh Valley. Logic dictates that the 29-year-old won’t give Vance Worley any trouble in securing a fifth starter spot on the big club, but you never know. Slowwwwwwwwwww for the Phillies and Ruben in Orlando.
Something of note: LED High Bay Lighting fixtures sponsors his baseball reference page.
Cliff Lee is like that crazy hot girl at a pool party with a busty (but not too busty!) bikini that everybody keeps staring at while they sip their wine coolers and ignore their girlfriends. Only this girl has 5 plus pitches, wicked command of the strike zone and two straight World Series appearances. GM’s from everywhere are salivating over the possibility of adding the lefty to their respective rotations: Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Rangers, newly deep-pocketed Nationals, and I’ve heard even General Motors (that GM) is considering signing him as their chief advertising executive. Twittered Jon Heyman:
#phillies are considering bringing back lee. Would be crazy rotation. But they won’t outbid #yankees, the favorite.
The miniscule chance that Ruben Amaro shoves millions of dollars under Lee’s nose to sign for the Phillies is, uh, miniscule. After the Roy Halladay swap that left Lee a Mariner, Clifton claimed that his time with the Phillies was the most fun he’s ever had playing baseball. Now that’s cool and all, but the idea that he’d take a ridiculous pay cut to avoid the evil empire and Sawks Nation just to be back in the ‘iladelph is pretty far-fetched. After all, I’m sure Jayson Werth had a terrific time winning a World Series and not sleeping with Chase Utley’s wife, and he’s now a National.
I’d give it 48 hours before Cliff puts on Yankee pinstripes and all we have to cheer us up is Jeff Francoeur. What a world, what a world…
The MLB Winter Meetings are underway and the rumors are that the Phillies are shopping for a right handed bat to help replace Jayson Werth. The general consensus is that they’ll look for someone to play a right field platoon role with youngster Domonic Brown. The name we keep hearing is Jeff Francoeur and in fact the reports are that the Phillies will sit down with his representatives as early as today.
However, Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman says that there are a few other options the Phillies could be looking at. The most surprising name is one that is likely to give Phillies fans nightmare flashbacks, Cody Ross. He lists Ross as a “longshot.”
Diaz, who’ll be 33 in March, also has an impressive career resumé, albeit mostly as a part-time player. An eight-year veteran, he is a career .301 hitter with 43 home runs and 192 RBIs. He hit above .300 during three of his five seasons with the Braves, and in 735 career at-bats against lefthanded pitching Diaz has a .335 average with 29 home runs and 100 RBIs.
We previously wrote about the interest the Phillies have in free agent OF Jeff Francoeur, now David Murphy is reporting that the Phillies are expected to meet with his representatives as early as today.
You can pencil at least one appointment into Ruben Amaro Jr.’s winter meetings day-planner. Amaro and assistant GM Scott Proefrock will meet with representatives for free agent right fielder Jeff Francoeur, possibly as early as today, according to a baseball source who has spoken to Francoeur.
With Jayson Werth officially gone, the Phillies are stepping up their efforts to add a right handed bat to the outfield. The general consensus seems to be that the organization is looking for a platoon partner for top prospect Domonic Brown. The name that keeps popping up is former Brave/Met/Ranger Jeff Francoeur.
Jayson Stark is reporting that Royals and Phillies are "picking up the pace" on the right handed outfielder. He says Francouer would have to weigh playing versus winning in that deal. He’ll start for the Royals but be on a terrible team. He’ll platoon in Philly, but have a chance to be in the postseason. Another attraction for Francoeur could be the chance to work with Charlie Manuel, who the player has reportedly said he admires. Apparently the admiration might be mutual because Cholly has reportedly been asking people he knows in the Braves organization about Frenchy and has told people that he thinks he can "fix" the getting on base challenged player.
Our pals over at the Good Phight hate the idea of platooning Domonic Brown to keep him away from left handed pitching.
New Mets GM Sandy Alderson arrived at the MLB winter meetings and was asked his thoughts on the 7-year, $126 million dollar deal given to Jayson Werth by the Washington Nationals. If you were being kind, you might say his tone was a little mocking. If not, you might say it was dripping with condescension.
“It makes some of our contracts look pretty good,” Alderson said. “That’s a long time and a lot of money. I thought they were trying to reduce the deficit in Washington.”
That’s a team with high priced outfielders like Carlos Beltran and Jayson Bay…
As our pals at SBNation DC point out, Alderson is not the only NL East GM to express some doubt over the years and amount of money in this deal. Apparently even Nationals GM Mike Rizzo sounds unsure.
“I think anyone is a little uncomfortable with giving anyone a seven-year deal,” Rizzo said. "But we’re in a position with the Washington Nationals at this place and this time that we have to do a little bit more than the championship-caliber, win-today teams. I think that it’s kind of a two-fold process. Sometimes you have to give the years to get the player.
Ok, stop laughing at the headline… Of course Jayson Werth didn’t sign with the Washington Nationals because he wanted to win, he signed there because they offered him far more years and money than another other team in baseball was willing to come even close to… But what Werth said is really no different than what any athlete in that position says. We know it’s total nonsense, but they’re saying the “right things.”
Philly fans will remember Asante Samuel saying he cam to Philadelphia because the Eagles gave him his best shot to win a Superbowl. He’d spent the previous season with the undefeated New England Patriots. So Jayson Werth just gets to be the next in a long line of guys who chased the money and claimed it was all about winning. And don’t take “chase the money” as a negative. This is his job and you do a job to make money right? So there’s nothing wrong with going for the most money, but oddly enough in sports it apparently is wrong to admit that.
“They gave me assurance that they’re going to go out and get the type of talent that we’re going to need to be competitive and to win. That was one thing that’s very important to me: Winning. I went to Philadelphia in 07, I signed as a free agent because I said we’re going to win. I wanted to go somewhere where we were going to win. I went to Philadelphia and we won. I signed here in Washington with the same aspirations. I signed here to win, and I believe we’re going to win. It’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to take some time, but that was one thing the Lerner family and the organization was willing to give me: time to win and to help this thing along. I’m looking forward to to the task. I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s something I’m passionate about. I love the game of baseball. I come from a baseball family, and I think I’m in the place that is very suited for me.”
You have to hand it to Scott Boras, he pulled off one of the great coups in recent free agent history getting the Washington Nationals to cough up 7 years and $126 million dollars for Jayson Werth, who will be 32 to start next season. Just a month ago we were talking about how the Phillies probably only wanted to go five years and debating whether the Red Sox might up it to five to close the deal.. Then Boras suckers the Nats into going seven and making Werth one of the the highest paid players in baseball.
Obviously Washington was going to have to pay a premium to get any notable free agents given where the team has been since it was moved to Washington, but this one is a shocker. John Heyman is reporting that most teams were offering “Jayson Bay money” in the area of 4 years/ $66 million. Obviously Washington blew that out of the water by nearly doubling his money. SBNation DC says the Nationals, who once looked liked they were taking the Capitals route of building a young core through the draft, have suddenly veered in the direction of the Redskins splashing out stunning amounts of money on aging free agents. You obviously know how that's worked out...
The Phillies won’t be happy about Werth heading to the Nats and not because they’ll have to see him in the division. As The Good Phight points out, since the Nats were so bad last year their first round pick is protected. So the Phillies will only receive the Nationals second round pick. Had he went to the Red Sox, the Phils would have taken their first round pick.
The rest of baseball certainly isn’t happy because the Nationals just destroyed the market by wildly overpaying for Werth. If Jayson is worth 7 years, $126 million then what is the younger and frankly better Carl Crawford worth? Surely he can’t accept less than what Werth signed for? What is Cliff Lee going to to demand? The Nats may get some icy receptions at the owners meeting this week. In fact, Buster Olney says that other GMs are livid about the contract.
The Werth contract has had an impact of an 8.0 earthquake. Rival gms, execs are going nuts about the terms.
All that aside, you have to congratulate Werth. The guy played his whole life for a chance at contract like this. He’s a good guy, he battled through injury problems for a good portion of his younger years, but he won himself a ring in Philly and now he’s one of the highest paid players in baseball. Congrats!
As first reported by Todd Zolecki, Jayson Werth has agreed to a free agent deal with the Washington Nationals, of all teams. Scott Boras negotiated for a reported seven years, 126 million dollars. Werth went from being a non-tendered scrap heap Pat Gillick signee to one of the richest men in baseball.
He should start right away in right field for the Nats, batting third in a lineup with Ryan Zimmerman behind him. With Bryce Harper coming up, a move to left field in a few years is a possibility. He’ll be 38 by the time his deal runs out, making $18 million. That’s a lot.
Reaction to come later.
Fox sports is reporting that the teams with the most interest in Jayson Werth are the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. Per the Fox report, most people in baseball see the Red Sox as the favorite to land the former Phillie. However, Boston did not make Werth an offer when they met with him in Chicago on Wednesday.
It also states that Detroit, who is in the market for an outfield bat, are more confident in their ability to sign Werth than the top free agent OF Carl Crawford.
Other possible suitors include the Texas Rangers, who may jump into the race for Werth if they miss out on Cliff Lee. The Yankees could also pursue Werth once Lee makes his decision. This might motivate Werth’s agent Scott Boras to keep his client on the market until Lee makes his decision.
The only other team that appears to be a possibility for Werth is the Los Angeles Angels, who are looking to upgrade their outfield but are more focused on Carl Crawford right now. If Crawford were to sign elsewhere, they could become players for Werth.
After meeting with Carl Crawford on Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox brass has reportedly met with Jayson Werth yesterday in an airport hotel in Chicago according to ESPN.com. Although Crawford appears to still be their top target, Gordon Edes argues that Werth may be a better option for Boston.
At 31, Werth is two years older than Crawford and presumably could be signed for a shorter term, although Boras may have different ideas. Werth has some interest in returning to Philadelphia, but the Red Sox made it clear Wednesday they would have great interest in signing him.
The years on Werth’s contract could very well be the deciding factor. The Phillies would likely be in a position to be competitive with teams like the Red Sox or Angels in terms of dollars for Werth, but they aren’t likely to commit to a deal in the realm of five years.
Jayson Stark is reporting that the Phillies are “bearing down” on left handed relief pitching. He says that the top guy right now seems to be 41 year old Arthur Rhodes, who had a great year with the Reds last season pitching to a 2.29 ERA. Still, he is 41 and has already had one awful season in Philadelphia in 2006. In 2006 he went 0-5 with a 5.32 ERA and needed Tommy John surgery afterward.
The other option is former Met Pedro Feliciano. As Stark points out, the best thing about signing Feliciano would be that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard wouldn’t have to face him anymore, the two have hit a combined .208 in 80 at bats against him.
Buster Olney also hears the Phillies are hot for a lefty reliever, but says that would prefer not to sign one that they’d have to surrender a draft pick for like Feliciano.
Should the Red Sox pull the trigger on a deal for a Crawford, that would likely pull them out of the Jayson Werth sweepstakes. At least according to reports, Boston has been the most likely destination for Werth other than Philadelphia and of the teams with reported interest, they clearly the team able to put the biggest offer on the table.
If Crawford, who many sees as the best non-pitcher on the market, signed Boston it could be seen as a positive sign for the chances of Jayson Werth returning to Philadelphia. Of course, it could have the opposite effect as well. If Crawford comes off the market, Werth becomes the best offensive player on the market and will be the rest of baseball’s only chance to add a big piece without having to give anything up in trade.
Maybe it’s not contrary to Tom Byrne's rumor on 97.5 The Fanatic that the Phillies offered Jayson Werth a contract, but CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury certainly doesn’t support what rumors have been flying around. In a text message, Jayson Werth responded to Salisbury’s question about nearing a contract with the Phillies with this:
Not at all. It’s very early. I will make an informed decision in due time.
So while it doesn’t seem like he’s ruling signing with the Phillies out altogether, it’s not happening anytime soon. A Werth signing should immediately be followed by a Raul Ibanez trade or I will be a very sad panda.
Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic has floated a think sounding report that the Phillies have made a contract offer to free agent Jayson Werth. The report says that they believe the offer is substantial enough to bring Werth back. Of course, why offer any contract at all if you didn’t believe he might accept it?
The report comes from a family friend of Amaro, who claims to have been told directly about the offer. In other words, it’s probably the least corroboration possible for anyone to even run the story… That said, it’s all we’ve got right now so we’re going to put it out there and see what happens. No doubt the beat writers are on alert so if an offer was truly made we’ll likely hear more about it in the coming days.
The question this begs is, if Amaro made an offer where he caved on some of the money and extra years… would we even want Werth to sign it? In 3 or 4 years we could have a roster full of old and very expensive players.
John Morosi of Fox Sports is reporting that the Phillies are showing interested in left handed reliever Dennys Reyes, who spent the last two seasons with the Cardinals. The 33 year old Reyes is the definition of a journeyman having played for 10 clubs in his 14 year major league career.
He had a 3.55 ERA in 38 innings last season. Of course, as a left handed reliever he didn’t even do the job against lefties, who hit .307 off him. Righties on hit .177. Oh and he walks a lot of batters.
The Philadelphia Phillies have offered free agent OF Jayson Werth arbitration, a move which won’t have any affect on whether he stays but could net the Phillies two draft picks if he signs elsewhere. Since Werth is a type-A free agent, the Phillies will receive the highest available pick from the team who signs him (1st or 2nd round) as well a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.
As MLB.com says, there’s no downside.
It makes sense to offer Werth arbitration, because there is no downside. If Werth declines arbitration and signs elsewhere, the Phils get the picks. If Werth accepts arbitration, which is highly unlikely, the club automatically gets Werth to return next season on a one-year contract.
The Phillies will not offer arbitration to type B free agent Chad Durbin. The reliever made over $2 million last year and if he went to arbitration he could get a big raise. The story says the Phillies are interested in bringing back Durbin, but not at the price an arbitrator would likely set.
Jason Stark is reporting that the Phillies have done "extensive groundwork on a potential deal" for White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin. He’s a right handed power hitter, which would seemingly make him a fit to replace Werth in right. He’s probably going to make around $5 million next season which would make him cheaper than Werth, but there would be a cost to get him from the White Sox. Quentin is a .251 lifetime hitter who hit 26 home runs last season. As MSNBC points out, that would make him a pricey platoon partner for Domonic Brown if that’s what the Phillies are thinking.
Stark also maintained that the Phillies still have interest in Jeff Francouer as a platoon partner for Domonic Brown. Everyone would deride the signing of Francouer, but if he was limited strictly to left handed pitching he may not be terrible. Or maybe I’m just trying to convince myself?
Stark also said that the only interest they’d have in free agent Jermaine Dye is as a spring training invitee.
The Good Phight is likely conflicted on the deal, after expressing reservations over the rumor. Surely, Michael Levin is on the edge of his seat hoping this is the oldest pitcher to get a multi-year deal from the Phillies this winter.
According to Enrique Rojas via PhillyFriar of The Good Phight, the Phillies are close to giving 39-year-old reliever Jose Contreras a 2-year deal, worth somewhere around $5 million. As TGP notes, his SIERA last season was 3.19, better than everybody in the pen but Ryan Madson. But this will only be his 2nd season as a full-time reliever, and he’ll be playing into his 40s with this contract. I’ve never been a fan of shelling out big money to relievers because they’re so up-and-down from year to year. If this is the only new multi-year deal a reliever gets from us, I’ll be okay with it, but if we start handing out Danys Baez’s to every old dude who’s thrown a bullpen session in the past decade, I won’t be happy about it.
The Phillies have reportedly made another minor transaction signing catch Erik Kratz to a minor league contract. The 30-year-old catcher spent nine seasons in the minor leagues before making his major league debut with the Pirates last year.
It’s clearly one of those moves for "organizational depth" since as MLBTR points out, Kratz never showed much at the major league level.
Kratz, 30, made his big league debut with the 2010 Pirates after spending nine seasons in the minor leagues. He has a .252/.325/.434 minor league line, but he hit just .118/.167/.118 in 36 big league plate appearances.
The Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a minor league deal with right handed knuckleballer Eddie Bonine, who has spent the last three seasons with the Detroit Tigers. Bonine was for the most part a long relief man for Detroit last season but made one start.
As the Detroit Free Press points out, Bonine’s first half last season was a lot stronger than his second half.
This past season, Bonine made one start and spent the bulk of the year in long relief. Through July 25, he was 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA. The rest of the season, he went 0-1 with an 8.72 ERA.
One of the needs that everyone agreed the Phillies had coming into this free agency period was clearly the the bullpen. According to Jayson Stark, the Phillies are trying to bring back one of the important pieces from last year’s bullpen, Jose Contreras.
The free agent the Phillies have been most aggressive about trying to re-sign isn’t Werth. It’s right-hander Jose Contreras, who struck out 57 in 56 2/3 innings in his first full season in the bullpen.
Contreras was clearly the Phillies 3rd most important arm in the bullpen last season and as the season wore on he clearly became the guy Charlie Manuel most trusted outside of the 8th and 9th innings. Keeping Contreras, especially if they can get him on a one year deal, would be a real solid start to free agency for the Phils.
After sitting out 2010 feeling unwanted and old, Jermaine Dye is looking into a return to baseball in 2011. According to Ken Rosenthal, he’s been contacted by the Phillies, Rays, and Rockies. He’s going commando in the negotiating world, electing to represent himself without an agent. The reason he didn’t play last year was because he refused to sign a minor league deal, money wasn’t the issue.
Dye is a career .274/.338/.488 hitter over his 14 seasons. In his last five years, all with the White Sox, he averaged 33 home runs per season, topping out at 44 in 2006. For a power hitter, he doesn’t walk or strike out that much, but you have to wonder how much he’s got left in the tank, turning 37 in January after a year off from baseball. In the field, he’s become a bit of a liability recently, posting negative dWAR’s in nine of the last ten seasons. Platooning, however, would hide some defensive inefficiency.
I would not hesitate signing him to a one-year deal worth a mil or so and using him as the 5th outfielder behind Ben Francisco. I don’t sweat losing John Mayberry to anyone. As a right-handed power bat, he’d fit in very nicely. Ideally, he’d platoon with Raul Ibanez because there is no way Domonic Brown should be platooning with anyone. We’ll monitor this situation as it develops.
Here’s one Phillies source on the odds of his team finding a way to keep Jayson Werth: “No chance. None. Zero.” In the end, it might not even be the annual dollars that will force the Phillies to move on. It’s their unwillingness to go beyond three or four years for a player who will turn 32 next May.
It’s actually somewhat refreshing that the Phillies might be getting stingy with the years on a contract, since something that has bitten them in recent seasons. See the Jamie Moyer & Raul Ibanez deals. Fingers crossed the Ryan Howard deal isn’t added to that list.
As for Werth’s possible replacement in right? Stark gets the feeling from Phillies GM Reuben Amaro that the most likely situation is a Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown platoon. However, he brings up a name we’ve already heard once this offseason that made us shudder.
the Phillies would still shop for another right-handed-hitting outfield bat. One name we’ve heard a lot: Jeff Francoeur, who has told friends he’d love to play for Charlie Manuel.
You know what? I would also love to play for Charlie Manuel and I could be an out machine as well!
According to Fox Sports, the Phillies have made their first move this offseason. Pete Orr is a 31-year old utilityman capable of playing six positions on the diamond. He’s split his 5 seasons between Atlanta and Washington, batting .260 with minute power and walk rates. He’s a capable fielder and will most definitely come up in case of emergency to Jimmy Rollins or Placido Polanco. He’s also Canadian and looks great with objects in the foreground.
This isn’t exactly the major splash people were hoping for, but it probably should have been expected. At least this means no Brian Bocock call-ups next season. Keep up with this Storystream for all Phillies free agency action.
Again, I wouldn’t go getting your hopes up since it’s highly unlikely that the Phillies are going to be signing anyone to a $100+ million deal this offseason, but they’re kicking the tires.
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