(Not) The Last Word on Werth

Thumbnail image for werth 01.jpg
Thumbnail image for werth 1025 2010.jpgDo I think Jayson Werth will be back next season?

No, I don’t.

I don’t think the Phillies expect him back, and I don’t think Werth expects to be back. I think the writing has been on the wall for months.

Ruben Amaro Jr. has said several times he cannot have a roster full of $15 million-a-year players, which Werth aims to be. The Phillies already have roughly $145 million committed to 16 players next season. Assuming Werth lands a contract between Jason Bay‘s four-year, $66 million deal and Matt Holliday‘s seven-year, $120 million deal, I just don’t see how it fits.

The Phillies could move some players to clear salary for Werth, but I think it’s unlikely. I’ve gotten e-mails like, “Just trade Raul Ibanez. There’s $11.5 million right there.” Really? Just trade Ibanez and have a team pick up his entire salary? Just like that?

But I think the Phillies will miss Werth’s bat. Werth had an .889 OPS the past three seasons, which ranked 10th in baseball for right-handed hitters. His 87 home runs ranked eighth among right-handed hitters. He played good defense. He stole 53 bases. He had a career-high .921 OPS this season, which was best on the team. And while he struggled with runners in scoring position, I do think it’s an anomaly.

He will be tough to replace, unless Domonic Brown develops incredibly quickly. He had a 1.083 OPS against right-handed pitchers this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Ben Francisco had a .901 OPS against left-handed pitchers. If Brown can hit right-handers and Francisco can hit left-handers it just might work. But after hearing Amaro express his concerns about an everyday lineup with everybody in their 30s — everybody in that lineup had subpar seasons other than Werth and Carlos Ruiz — it is a risk.

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If Werth is not back, he will be missed for more than just his bat. Selfishly, he is one of the most intelligent and thoughtful guys in the clubhouse. If you needed an all encompassing quote to sum up a major moment — World Series championship, losing streak, perfect game, hitting streak, whatever — you went to Jimmy Rollins, Brad Lidge and Werth.

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Werth spoke for roughly 25 minutes today. He touched on just about every subject imaginable, including the 2008 World Series celebration. Nobody had anything left to ask him, so before he got up and left I thought I’d ask him something I had been curious about (don’t ask me why some of these things interest me, but they do):

Does he still have his Hulk hand?

“It’s at home,” he said. “It’s in the trophy case.”

I should have stopped there, but I asked him one more. Is he going to stop shaving until next Spring Training?

“I don’t know, Todd. But I’ll be sure to e-mail you and tell you. I know you’re interested to find out.”

That got a good laugh.

I mentioned that some teams don’t allow facial hair. Well, just one team. The Yankees. Matt Gelb from The Inquirer then chimed in that I should grow a beard in the offseason.

“Todd can’t grow a beard,” Werth said. “No way. How old are you, Todd?”

For the record, I probably can grow a beard. Maybe.

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I posted two pictures here: the photo I took of Werth’s beard the first day of Spring Training and a photo from today’s news conference. It seemed like a perfect bookend to Werth’s year.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

9 Comments

THANK YOU! I’m so sick of those bonehead ‘trade Raul’ comments too. People really must think these guys work year to year.

Wanna see Ryan Howard double his bases on balls total in 2011? Just take Jayson Werth out of the #5 hole and Howard won’t see a fastball in the strike zone all year. Domonic Brown’s 1.083 OPS vs RHP in AAA came in just 62 at bats and that’s hardly enough to suggest he can do that on a fulltime basis in the major leagues. He needs at least 3 months to a full season at AAA in 2011. Then he can replace Ibanez in 2012. And Francisco isn’t the answer. Who would be stupid enough to pitch to Ryan Howard with nobody to protect him in the lineup. Teams will be loading up on left handed pitching for when the Phillies come to town. Without Werth there’s a big hole in the middle of the Phillies lineup with nobody to fill it.

Thanks Todd, great article. Would love to see him stay, but again the writing does seem to be on the wall. Thanks for the article though, well written. :)

Thanks Todd, great article. Would love to see him stay, but again the writing does seem to be on the wall. Thanks for the article though, well written. :)

In my perfect world (where I live with my cat and Kaley Cuoco) a young, hungry outfielder in the minor league system would see what’s going on and spend the entire winter getting himself in shape to come to Clearwater and dazzle the Phils coaching staff.
I thought it would happen with a young pitcher last spring, and we see how that turned out. We started the year with Jamie Moyer.
Domonic Brown and/or John Mayberry? Umm….
Part of the problem is that their minor league system doesn’t have a guy who could allow you to say ‘goodbye, and thank you’ to Werth without holding your breath wondering if right field will be a place where fly balls become doubles and the fifth spot in the lineup is just another ground out.

I know, it’s a pessimistic view for a team that has won 4 straight division titles, but the postseason was nothing to crow about (save a no-hitter) and we’re looking at a lineup that repeatedly failed in 2010 – remember May? No matter how many H2O’s you run out there, they have to hit better than .178 with RISP to beat anybody – including the Giants – in the playoffs.
Losing one of their best hitters won’thelp them improve on that.

RAJ was on WIP this am saying that many of the players have to possibly start training differently since they are getting older. Being the optimist that I am, I’d like to think that they will and that this horrible loss will serve as a catalyst for the 2011. I think it might be similar to 2007 when they were swept by the Rockies.

Muleman: Love Kaley Cuoco & the rest of the “Big Bang Theory” gang. I like that she’s attractive yet not stupid.

I would like to see Werth stay. If they keep getting rid of all their good players like they did after they won the World Series in 1980, they won’t have a chance for post season for a long time coming. History will repeat itself. Werth has done betterh than Howard in the post season. I don’t think Howard is worth the money he gets. He did let us down in game no.6!

I think they should resign Werth! What I want to know is he married & do I still have a chance,lol.

haron

RAJ, please keep Werth on our team if you possibly can!!! What a great player, he does it all & he’s truly amazing. He’s werth his weight in gold…(sorry, I couldn’t resist) :) …but I really think he is a very valuable player. You don’t come by multi talented players like this everyday. We would miss him terribly.

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