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The one thing we learned in Jayson Werth's introductory press conference with the Washington Nationals is that he has a full no-trade clause. Werth volunteered that information during an answer about the length of his contract, and general manager Mike Rizzo confirmed that in an interview following the press conference. This means the only way Werth leaves Washington D.C. during his seven-year contract is if he does it on his own accord.
But Rizzo admitted afterwards that he isn't thrilled with that arrangement. He said it was a necessity to securing a commitment from Werth to sign with the team, but still doesn't love doing it. Via Ben Goessling of MASN:
"I'd rather not have a no-trade clause, because it's another impediment to roster construction; I would term it that way," Rizzo said. "A no-trade clause gives the players more control. That's why we're reluctant to do it. It's something that, for an elite free agent like this, I thought I would relent on it, because we had to do it to get the player."
Rizzo admitted that he will make exceptions for certain free agents, but it's striking to see him speak out against no-trade clauses only a few minutes after Werth discussed the importance of a long-term commitment from his end. I guess this means we won't see many more in the future.
Jayson Werth was formally introduced as a member of the Washington Nationals in a press conference earlier this afternoon at Nationals Park. Werth discussed why he decided to sign with the Nationals, saying that he's excited to get started. He also said he thinks the Nationals are better than people think.
"One thing I saw ith the Nats playing vs. them was a grittiness they had and a will to win," Werth said. "Although they had rough seasons, they have some talent. It's very young and unpolished, but that's one thing I can help with."
Werth said he thinks the Nationals can "surprise a lot of people" this year and added that the ownership's commitment to winning was a big reason why he chose to sign with the Nationals.
"They're on board for winning. They're a winning family. Mr. Lerner shared a story of his successful life, and I'm sure they will do what they can to bring this team to the next level."
He also said the length of the contract was very important for him, as is the fact that he has a no-trade clause, a fact agent Scott Boras confirmed. Saying that he's never had a lot of security in his baseball life, Werth admitted the length of the deal drove him to Washington.
"One thing I was able to obtain was the length of the contract was very important. The one thing that was important was the length and the willingness of the owners to win. That's what drew me to Washington."
General manager Mike Rizzo said Werth is exactly the kind of guy the team has been trying to get, referring to Werth as a "skilled player that plays both sides of the ball." The latter may or may not have been a shot at departed free agent Adam Dunn.
Speaking of shots, Werth seemed like he has a chip on his shoulder after the Phillies didn't offer him a huge contract. When asked about his opinion of the Cliff Lee contract, he feigned ignorance. Though he said he had "nothing bad" to say about Philadelphia, his words don't exactly back that up.
"I've definitely moved on the past few months. I'm excited about being a Nationals. They got their boy back, I guess," he said, referring to Lee. ... " "They're going to make their plays, and we're going to make ours. Over time, people will see the Nationals are for real."
(Video via CSN Washington's live stream).
Say what you want about the Jayson Werth signing - too much money, too many years, blah blah blah - but the fact remains that you are talking about it, and the Nationals, on the first day of baseball's 2010 winter meetings. That is more than you could have said at any other time in the team's history. And as Nats owner Mark Lerner said on his blog Curly W Live, that is an accomplishment in and of itself.
As you likely know, we agreed to terms with RF Jayson Werth yesterday on a seven-year contract. This really shocked the baseball universe and there was not a writer or baseball dignitary in the lobby that did not take notice. We made an impression and we nabbed a darn good ballplayer too.
That's a good point. Even if Werth doesn't live up to his contract fully (something I think it might be hard to do) he gives the Nationals a certain aura. Who would have thought the Nationals could sign a player of Werth's caliber while spending the type of money they did even just a week ago? It shows that the Nationals are willing to spend money to build a team, and it raises their profile throughout the league.
Even if they overpaid him, the team is better for having Jayson Werth on his roster than they would be if he wasn't. It's the owners' money to spend, and if he is happy to spend it to put a a winning team on the field, then who cares? He seems content with the signing, so that's really all you can ask for.
What may be more surprising than the Nationals' acquisition of outfielder Jayson Werth may be the amount of money they gave him. The 7 year, $126 million dollar contract has stunned everyone around baseball, fans and General Manager's alike.
The most unlikely of skeptics of the deal is non other than the man who made the deal happen, Mike Rizzo. According to the Washington Post's Nats Journal, Rizzo explained why his team had to go above and beyond to lock up Werth:
"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.
Soon after the deal was made, other GM's across the league began to react. According to ESPN New York, Mets GM Sandy Alderson expressed his thoughts on the deal:
"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 probably not meant to be taken as a compliment.
At a press conference announcing Jayson Werth's signing, which was broadcast on the MLB Network, Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said that the franchises' bold move to get the former Philadelphia outfielder signaled that the Nats were in "phase two" of their development.
Phase two, as Rizzo described, is one where the Nationals will look to become more aggressive in adding impact players in the trade and free agent markets, with their goal being to make a push to become more competitive and win the NL East. With this announcement, it will be interesting to see what the Nats will do this week as the winter meetings begin. They still have several needs, most notably the first base vacancy left by Adam Dunn's departure, in addition to acquiring a veteran starting pitcher who can help lead the rotation.
Rizzo also announced that Werth will be playing in right field next year.
After losing Adam Dunn to the Chicago White Sox earlier in the week, the Washington Nationals needed to make a big move to appease many of their fans. Two days later, they have done just that. According to multiple reports, the Nationals have signed free agent Jayson Werth to a seven-year contract for $126 million.
Mike Harris of Nationals Fanboy Loser was the first to mention this, and it was also mentioned by Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports confirmed the news and also reported the $126 million figure
Werth was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies since 2007, where he was a key cog in one of the best offenses in the NL. Last season, Werth belted 25 home runs and 85 RBI while hitting .296 with a .388 on-base percentage. In 2009, Werth hit 36 home runs and had 99 RBI while hitting .268 with a .373 on-base percentage. Those were clearly the two best seasons of his career. He is also 31, which is ironic because Dunn was also 31 and was deemed too old to get a long-term contract. However, the Nationals likely prefer Werth's above-average outfield play to Dunn's below-average fielding.
The team will announce the news shortly. For more, head over to Federal Baseball.
I still have a source or two in this world and I'm told the Nats are about to make a very big splash in the free agent world. Very big splash. Losing Dunn? Mike Rizzo has to be grinning like the cat that ate the canary.
This one will be werth waiting for, I'm told. Not sure when it will become official and how much work remains to be done. Not 100 percent sure it will happen - but pretty darn close to that.
Werth has been with the Philadelphia Phillies since 2007, winning a World Series with them in 2008. The 31-year old right hander batted .296 with 27 home runs and 85 RBIs in 2010.
The Nationals have money to spend, and are looking to be contenders in the NL East in a few years. Werth is young enough and has enough starpower to bridge the gap while Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper improve, and also stick around for a while to help the Nationals win in the future.