You Miss Jayson Werth
Charlie Manuel is looking forward to trash-talking Jayson Werth today at Nationals Park. I’m sure a few Phillies fans are, too. But I’m sure a few more will cheer him when they invade Washington this week for a three-game series against the Nationals.
Werth played a big part in resurrecting the franchise.
Everybody knows Werth left the Phillies in December to sign a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals. The Phillies offered him a guaranteed $48 million, which would have jumped to $60 million if they exercised a 2014 option. Some people seem offended Werth signed with Washington. Numerous fans have asked me, “What’s the difference when you’re talking about that much money?”
My answer is always the same: The difference is $78 million.
If somebody offered me $126 million and somebody else offered me $48 million, 10 times out of 10 I’m taking the $126 million. Why? Because the difference is $78 million. Maybe you think that makes me greedy. I just think that makes me honest. If we’re really being honest, the Phillies needed to offer Cliff Lee $120 million to return to Philadelphia. If they had offered him $100 million he would be in New York or Texas right now. Lee deserved every penny he got. He shouldn’t have accepted less. Yes, he took less money to return to Philadelphia, but he didn’t take $78 million less. The Yankees reportedly offered him a guaranteed $148 million, or $28 million more than the Phillies.
The Phillies had to get into Lee’s ballpark to bring him back. The Phillies never got into Werth’s ballpark, so it’s impossible to blame him for taking the much, much better deal.
The good news for the Phillies is Ben Francisco has played well in right field through the season’s first nine games. But there is no question Werth did an excellent job as an everyday player from late 2008 through last season. Here are the reasons why you miss Werth:
- He had an .889 OPS from 2008-10, which ranked 23rd out of 182 players in the big leagues.
- 87 home runs (14th).
- .513 SLG (21st).
- 277 runs (21st).
- .376 OBP (24th).
- 181 extra-base hits (26th).
- 34 game-winning RBIs (27th).
- 53 stolen bases (34th)
- 4.46 pitchers per plate appearances (1st).
- 25 assists (6th among rightfielders).
- .989 fielding percentage (6th)
- .875 zone rating (8th)
I know one big knock is he hit terribly with runners in scoring position last season. No argument there. Werth hit .282/.380/.506 overall in his four-year career with the Phillies. He hit a horrific .150/.335/.274 SLG with RISP from Apri 5 – Sept 4. last season.
Ouch. But he hit .298/.418/.508 with RISP from 2007-09, and .333/.438 OBP/.481 SLG with RISP from Sept. 5 through the end of the regular season. I think his resurgence with RISP in the last month of last season coincided with him hiring Scott Boras as his agent. I think Werth stressed out the first five months, and he finally relaxed once he knew Boras would take care of him.
Boo him or cheer him this week? If you boo, boo him because he plays for a division rival, not because he took a monster deal.
You know you would have done the same.
Update: Getting some great feedback on this. Many fans say they are more upset Werth has taken a few digs at the Phillies since he left, saying the Phillies are getting old, etc. True, true. But I’ve gotten enough how-could-he-take-the-money e-mails that I felt compelled to say, “Really?!?!”