Hitting the Open Market
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.