Hitting the Open Market

Thumbnail image for Werth0036.jpgJayson Werth hits the open market in less than 24 hours.

That should not surprise anybody. Werth was not going to sign a contract during his exclusive negotiating period with the Phillies. But beginning at midnight Saturday anybody from any team can contact any player, including Werth.

I still don’t think Werth resigns with the Phillies.

Scott Boras, who is Werth’s agent, said yesterday it doesn’t have to be that way.

“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.”

I’ve written many times Werth could seek something similar to Matt Holliday‘s seven-year, $120 million deal. Failing that, I’ve got to think he’ll pull something like Jason Bay‘s four-year, $66 million deal. I don’t know about you, but I think Werth is a much better player than Bay.

“We have, in my mind, probably the most coveted offensive player in the free agent market,” Boras said. “Carl Crawford is a really great player, but the truth of the matter is Werth scores as many runs and his on-base percentage is the same. Werth is a guy that can play center field and has played center field recently. He’s a Gold Glove-type outfielder. Crawford is, too. But the big difference is that Werth has 87 home runs over the last three years and Crawford has 42. Werth is really a middle-of-the-lineup guy. I think when he bats third he’ll be a 110-to-120 runs scored guy, and a 100-RBI guy. And I think teams that are looking for a right-handed bat view Werth as a middle-of-the-lineup guy.”

Ironically, one of the reasons the Phillies might feel they can part with Werth is they have Domonic Brown waiting in the wings. Brown is a Boras client. There is a chance the Phillies could enter the season with Brown and Ben Francisco platooning in right field, much the way Werth and Geoff Jenkins platooned in right field in 2008 before Werth won the everyday job.

“Dominic Brown is going to step in no matter what, only because of the athleticism,” Boras said. “He is going to be a big player in the Phillies’ future. He’s athletic. He’s very gifted. He’s young. He’s going to be a brilliant player. The idea to suggest that Werth signing or whatever is going to in any way limit that … if Domonic is playing well, Domonic will play.”


The Phillies have six other free agents: Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin, Jamie Moyer, Greg Dobbs, J.C. Romero and Mike Sweeney. The fact the Phillies cut loose Romero, Moyer and Dobbs makes it clear they will not be back. Sweeney also isn’t expected back. I think the Phillies will try hard to resign Contreras. I think they’ll try to bring back Durbin, too.


As an aside, I’m sure you remember Brown had his name spelled “Dominic” for a couple years before finally correcting everybody. He might need to correct people on the pronunciation, too. His first name is pronounced Dominique, like Dominique Wilkins. At least that’s what Boras told me. He said he got the correct pronunciation from Brown’s father.


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!


Good luck getting Brown’s name pronounced correctly. Philadelphians couldn’t get Burrell right, the Eagles RB Charlie “Gardner,” “Dunavan” McNabb, and are still working on Kevin Kolb. I don’t know if other cities have these issues, but we always seem to have a guy (or two) whose names are mispronounced.

Who cares about Crawford’s HR output versus Werth? It’s all about scoring runs and driving them in, regardless of how it’s done. Over the past 2 years, Crawford has scored 206 runs, and Jayson 204. Bottom line.

On another note, I’m reading about potential destinations for the crop of big-time free agents, and from the looks of it, the Red Sox and Yankees will have rosters of up to 35 players each, since the national media thinks that they are the only two teams who could possibly sign these guys.

The jury is still out as to whether or not Junior has made the right decisions talent wise. The same cannot be said for the tab his has ran up in two short years. The Phillies are now committed to paying more for only 16 players in 2011 than they paid for the entire roster in 2010. Boras may be onto something with his claims that the Phillies have the ability to sustain a $200 million budget but maybe he is blowing smoke considering his self interest. But I have no doubt the Phillies have the ability to eat, in a manner of speaking, a one or two year spike in the budget. Of course the implication of doing so would be an admission of the mess Junior has made. Ironically, Junior would be charged with cleaning up his own mess. Fiscally, the Phillies should have no problem re-signing Werth or signing Lee or even both in the short term. Whether or not to do so baseball wise is more problematic considering the length of the contracts either Werth or Lee or both would demand. While it is thought by many that the Yankees have this bottomless reservoir of cash, I believe they are hitting critical mass. This is due to the combination of the size of their budget on the fiscal side and the ability of what that budget pays for on the baseball side. I believe the tipping point at which the Yankees can out bid others for free agents with the duration of contracts has been reached.

muleman: and your point when comparing the runs scored by Werth and Crawford is what exactly? Can you please clarify this point.

philsphan, if you want to criticize Amaro, at least make some good points. First of all, Durbin is not a ‘good bullpen pitcher’. They can do a lot better than him; average at best. They didn’t ‘cut Jamie Moyer loose’. His contract ran out and I see no reason to offer a 48 year old guy another contract. Sweeney was a nice clubhouse guy. Now tell me one thing he contributed on the field, especially in the postseason. And Burrell? He had success? He was 0-for-forever in the World Series, so he was just flat-out lucky to get another ring. Are you suggesting the Phillies should have re-signed him? As far as Baez is concerned, if he shows again that he can’t cut it again in the spring, he will be gone. But he is still here because he has a contract, something Moyer, Werth, Sweeney and Durbin don’t have.

Is it just me or does anyone ese think Ruben Amaro is a complete idiot. Won’t sign Werth who by the way was the only one to have a homerun for us in the post season. Cut Jamie Moyer loose just because of his “advancing’ age at a ******** 48 and because of an elbow injury but then will keep someone like Baez who can’t pitch his way out of a paper bag. Jamie Moyer has already forgotten more then that guy will ever know. Could have at least offered him a coaching job since your also big on getting rid of great coaches like Davey Lopes. There goes your base stealing percentage Ruben1 Great job! Got rid of Durbin who was one of the few good bullpen pitchers we had. And also won’t bring back Mike Sweeney who is the best team player I have seen. But he’ll pay Baez for doing nothing. Gave Howard that big payday and what did he do with it? Sluffed off the rest of the season. I guess its true there REALLY is no loyalty in baseball. And in this case no brains either. Last year he got rid of Burrell and look what happened to him? Success is the BEST revenge. Good Luck getting to another WS with this bonehead making the decisions.

phan: Sweeney might have contributed in the post-season if Charlie had given him an at-bat. Instead, he kept going to Francisco. I would have thought that Mike’s advantage in such situations would have been his intense desire to contribute. But that’s water under the bridge, now.

pherris: I really think it would be more productive (and entertaining) to have you explain yourself to us.
Their “one or two year spike in the budget” could trigger the Luxury Tax, and they certainly don’t want that. It’s always necessary to balance money spent to its actual benefit. The $178 million Luxury Cap figure would be an easy target to reach.

Moyer hurt his arm in the Dominican League. Thanks for everything Jamie, but this should be the final wake-up call that keeps you from wearing out your welcome.

Moyer hurt his arm in the Dominican League. Thanks for everything Jamie, but this should be the final wake-up call that keeps you from wearing out your welcome.

I too heard about Moyer’s injury. I was wondering whether he had healed properly from the first injury. Think they’ll give Moyer a one day contract and he’ll retire a Phillies?

Love the “Hot Stove” talk over the long winter.

Jamie’s going to see an elbow specialist, tomorrow. Really, Jamie? Retire with some dignity. Please.

So, muleman you still haven’t answered my initial question. But then you never do when called on your b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t. What exactly is the significance of Crawford having scored 206 runs and Werth 204 runs over the last two years? Is there a point in there somewhere or is it just some more of your drivel?

As to the luxury tax, so what? If it kicks in at $178 million, the Phillies have $30-$35 million to work with for 9 players. Junior is always crying poor mouth. He reminds me of the guy who murders his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court claiming he is an orphan.

Muleman, give my regards to Junior at your next monthly meeting of the Idiot Savant Club.

Jayson….please stay in Philly!!!!!

pherris: You always go personal. I think it’s because you don’t offer any real ideas or state a case with any facts – only your opinion.
I thought I was plain in my case that the name of the game is to score runs, and Werth and Crawford score about the same. They hit at different parts of the batting order, so home runs are irrelevant. I think they’re over valued anyway.

If you think you can sign 9 players for $30 million, go ahead and get Werth and Lee, and tell me what you have left. The fact is that the Phillies don’t want to spend luxury tax money, plain and simple. If you haven’t yet learned that about this organization, then you’re not paying attention.

I wonder if you conjure up a little stiffie while you sit and type your comments? I picture you in a dimly lit room in your underpants giggling to yourself. Bring a valid opinion to the table and surprise us all. You can take the next comment space apologizing for calling me an idiot.

Are any other season ticket holders a little put-off by the price increase? For a team that plays with a self-imposed salary cap and has sold out 130-some straight games, increasing the price of a ticket (in questionable economic times) seems like taking advantage of us.

Of course, we’ll continue to go, and they know that, which is precisely why they do what they do. They squeeze us for a lot of money over the course of the season. You should sit down and do some math, to factor in parking, concessions and tickets. You might be surprised what you spend during a season at the ballpark.

The problem with ticket price increases is that, should the product ever to bad, the place will end up looking like Camden Yards. They have set a high standard for the ballclub that may be difficult to maintain.

Here we go again, muleman. You get called on the carpet for one of your lame pronouncements and you get all defensive. It is relevant that Werth hits lower in the order than Crawford. It is even close because Werth has hit 29 more homeruns than Crawford. Of course the fact that Werth has had a higher OBP might also have something to do with it. He is on base more for his team mates to drive him in even though it is the bottom of the Phillies order which is driving him in as opposed to the “meat” of the Ray’s order hitting behind Crawford and attempting to drive him in.

Yes, the Phillies can take a spike in their budget without hitting the limit for the luxury tax. Why do you introduce this signing of Werth and Lee into the scenario? I have never suggested that the Phillies do this. To justify another one of your lame talking points? One or the other or neither with mid-level signings would serve the Phillies well.

The Phillies are one of 7 teams to contact Cliff Lee’s agent.
Serious inquiry or PR stunt? Discuss…..

I’m sure everyone knows that the Evil Empire is also one of the 7 teams that have contacted Cliff Lee. Also Mrs. Lee isn’t too thrilled w/the Yankees and enjoyed their time here in Philly. However, I think he’ll probably stay in Texas.

I wonder how serious the Phillies can be about signing Lee with the Yankees in the market. The Phillies may be able to match the dollars per year but they won’t offer Lee any more than three years. The Yankees could blow them out of the water with the number of years, so why are the Phillies even in the discussion? If it comes down to a difference of about 40MM in guaranteed money it doesn’t matter how distasteful the Bronx may be to the Lee family. CC Sabathia said he was committed to going to the west coast until the Yankees showed him the money. I think the Phillies know all this, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Who are we kidding Dom Brown makes a big sucking sound, The Phillies need to sign Werth and could have done so, if they wouldn’t have signed Howard so early in the season, Howard is a called the Big Piece I hate to tell you what he is a big piece of. See the great season Howard has had, they could have got him cheaper if they had waited. Werth wanted to deal with the Phillies during the season but Ruben only wanted Howard signed. Now your going to lose a good right fielder, fast runner and good extra base hitter. Howard can’t field, can’t run and can some times hit home runs, Charlie like that…. If Jayson bats out of the 3 or 4 hole his RBI count will be well over 100.

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