Should Werth have taken cash or joined contender?

December 07, 2010

Money the clear choice

Steve Gould

Baltimore Sun

Of course Jayson Werth should have taken the Nationals' money.

First, he's 31 years old. He knew going in that whatever contract he signed — even if it weren't for the seven years they gave him — could be the last of his career. Even if he had signed for four years, there's no telling what would be out there when he's 35 and his production has, in all likelihood, slipped.

Also, it's not as if we're talking about some hard-luck loser who has never sniffed the postseason. Werth won a World Series in 2008 and made it there again in 2009. And does anyone believe he'll be with the Nationals for the entirety of the deal?

Finally, it's $126 million — nine figures — and, reportedly, no other team's offer was anywhere close to that. Who among us can honestly say he or she wouldn't take that kind of money?

Cash dash no shock

Mandy Housenick

The Morning Call

Jayson Werth wasn't fooling anyone. Since the day he hired agent Scott Boras last summer, Werth made it clear he was all about money. He only made that more obvious when, just after the season ended, he talked about how "absolutely" excited he was to be a free agent. "I definitely had a good time playing here," Werth said — already speaking about Philly in past tense.

If he wants the money, be my guest. The Phillies fill their roster with players who care about winning, about teammates and about doing things the right way.

Werth is not one of them. If he were, he would have done what Ryan Howard did in April: sign for less money to ensure he was playing in a city filled with passionate fans and for a club dedicated to racking up playoff berths. He won't be getting much of either in Washington, D.C..

For him, the right call

Mark Gonzales

Chicago Tribune

At 31, Jayson Werth is at the zenith of his career. He knows the lows as well as the highs, as he missed the entire 2006 season because of ligament tears in his left wrist that put his career at a crossroads. He deserves to receive whatever he can get as one of the top free agents.

Sure, the scrutiny is on him as well as Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, one of baseball's top amateur draft evaluators. But Werth knew what he signed up for when he hired super agent Scott Boras. The Phillies and Braves are formidable teams, but the NL East isn't the AL East. It also makes for a good story if Werth can help vault the Nationals into playoff contention.

The Nats aren't the first team to make a free agent splash like this. The Tigers signed Magglio Ordonez to a massive deal after the 2004 season and reached the World Series two years later.

Boras made it obvious

Bill Shaikin

Los Angeles Times

On the eve of free agency, when any good agent could have gotten a good contract for Jayson Werth, the outfielder fired his agent and hired Scott Boras. That is the guy you hire to extract every possible dollar out of a deal, and so you knew Werth would go for the money rather than the contender if he had to make the choice. And why not?

Werth did not become a major league regular until he was 29. He will turn 32 next season. This was his first shot at free agency, and almost certainly his best shot. He already knows the glory of riding in a World Series championship parade.

If we salute star athletes who jump to contending teams because they have made their money and want a chance at a ring, why not salute one who has a ring and wants his chance at the money?

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