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The Nationals’ 7-year, $126 million mistake: Jayson Werth

Posted by Andy on September 1, 2011

Jayson Werth became a free agent at just the right time. Over 2008-2010, he posted a 132 OPS+ despite averaging only 29 2B, 29 HR and 84 RBI. He did this largely by batting 5th or 6th behind productive hitters in the Phillies' lineup and by hitting reasonably well (plus walking a lot.) He did well in his role. Then, he became a free agent at age 31 in a year when there weren't a lot of other big-name bats on the market.

Somehow, the Nationals got fooled into thinking that this guy would make a good #3 hitter. This was despite the fact that he's on the wrong side of 30 and generated numbers helped significantly by the team on which he played.

Lo and behold, almost one year into the 7-year, $126 million contract, Werth's OPS+ sits at 98 and he may not crack 20 HR or 60 RBI while potentially setting a career-high in strikeouts. Oops.

Here are rightfielders since 2001 to qualify for the batting title with an OPS+ between 97 and 99:

Rk Player Year OPS+ Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Jayson Werth 2011 98 32 WSN 126 546 471 56 109 24 1 16 50 62 132 .231 .330 .389 .718 *9/8
2 Brennan Boesch 2010 99 25 DET 133 512 464 49 119 26 3 14 67 40 99 .256 .320 .416 .736 *97D
3 Corey Hart 2008 98 26 MIL 157 657 612 76 164 45 6 20 91 27 109 .268 .300 .459 .759 *9
4 Matt Lawton 2005 98 33 TOT 141 585 500 67 127 30 1 13 53 69 77 .254 .356 .396 .752 *97
5 Jacque Jones 2005 98 30 MIN 142 585 523 74 130 22 4 23 73 51 120 .249 .319 .438 .757 *98/D
6 Aubrey Huff 2005 98 28 TBD 154 636 575 70 150 26 2 22 92 49 88 .261 .321 .428 .749 *9D3/5
7 Bobby Higginson 2004 98 33 DET 131 531 448 63 110 24 2 12 64 70 84 .246 .353 .388 .742 *9D
8 Jody Gerut 2004 97 26 CLE 134 548 481 72 121 31 5 11 51 54 59 .252 .334 .405 .739 *98/7D
9 Bobby Kielty 2003 99 26 TOT 137 509 427 71 104 26 1 13 57 71 92 .244 .358 .400 .758 *9D/783
10 Juan Encarnacion 2003 97 27 FLA 156 653 601 80 162 37 6 19 94 37 82 .270 .313 .446 .759 *9
11 Tim Salmon 2001 98 32 ANA 137 581 475 63 108 21 1 17 49 96 121 .227 .365 .383 .748 *9D
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/1/2011.

Which of these guys would you give $126 million to?

Tim Salmon is actually a pretty good comparison for Werth. They were the same age when having the season in question, and for the 3 seasons previous, Salmon had a 133 OPS+, 29 2B, 26 HR, and 85 RBI per season. Those numbers are all nearly identical to what Werth did in his 3 seasons previous.

Well, Salmon turned around in 2002 and 2003 to post 2 more good seasons. Yes, his power continued to diminish, but he hit more doubles and kept on walking.

If Werth reverts in 2012 to his 2008-2010 form, he'll be a decent enough player for the Nats. But there's no way he has 6 years of such productivity left, and no way he can hit 3rd for them. It's sad to watch an organization throw away so much money for someone who could be a good piece, but not a centerpiece.

But at least they didn't also sign Adam LaRoche and Ivan Rodriguez to worthless 2-year contracts, too....oh wait.

93 Responses to “The Nationals’ 7-year, $126 million mistake: Jayson Werth”

  1. Jaz Says:

    To be fair, Werth's production outside of RBIs and runs wasn't because of the team he played on. He had above average plate discipline and a knack for getting on base in his time with the Phillies, and hit for more than enough power. It's a disservice to him to claim that he was "helped significantly" by the lineup around him.

    Mistake contract from the Nationals? Most definitely. But don't pretend act like Werth was a product of playing for the Phillies.

  2. Andy Says:

    Jaz, I did say above that he walked a lot and did well in his role.

    His career OPS+ other than his years playing for the Phillies is 98. (That includes Toronto, LA, and Washington.) And his career OPS+ with the Phillies was 130.

  3. Tim L Says:

    To look at his numbers outside of when he was with Philly is a little unfair. He struggled with injuries and was also not given the opportunity to play everyday.

    I think he will rebound, but I agree this is not a good contract.

  4. Person Says:

    Hang on now. $126>>>>>>$20>>>$6, and while it's been years since Pudge has hit, he's definitely helped out the young pitchers, and his defense is still unbelievably good. Nationals fans from what I gather are fine with that deal. There's a divide on LaRoche among those who don't obsess over hindsight.

    The Werth contract on its own is certainly absurd. I remember my immediate reaction literally an outcry. But it was a statement as much as anything, that the Nats are willing to spend. A dumb statement, perhaps, but it was also in play. And the Lerners are not short on cash, although perhaps they are now less willing to spend big.

  5. joey z Says:

    i think he will rebound in 2012, especially if harper is ready, morse has arrived, add another bat in the winter. good , intense player, too soon to call him a bust i think. 2012 the decipher..desmond is a bust than, way to young to give up on him too.

  6. Gonzo Says:

    Don't forget that he played in a very tiny ballpark. 30% of his homers went to the short porch in right field, according to the stats I just made up.

  7. Jaz Says:

    "His career OPS+ other than his years playing for the Phillies is 98."

    So? That doesn't mean anything without the appropriate context of "he was young, wasn't getting a lot of playing time and dealt with a career threatening wrist injury in 2005." It's not like he was playing full time and was healthy in his four years prior to coming to Philadelphia.

    To suggest that his OPS+ spiked when he got to Philadelphia simply by the fact that he played in Philadelphia is foolish. Correlation does not equal causality. He had a breakout year with the Phillies, and it is more than likely that that occurs for any other team, provided that he received the same amount of playing time.

  8. Andy Says:

    LOL Gonzo. It's true that Werth's home splits in Philly were quite good.

  9. statboy Says:

    Not Werth The Money

    That should have been the title of this post, Andy. 🙂

  10. Andy Says:

    Jaz, to assume that he simply got better when he arrived in Philly is equally "foolish" to use your word. I'm not saying that Werth is a bad player. Nowhere do I say that. But to have a corner outfielder with a below-average OPS+ and yet one of the richest and longest contracts in baseball makes no sense. Terrible move by the Nationals, except for whatever they demonstrated to their fans about commitment to spending.

  11. Andy Says:

    Excellent Statboy 🙂

  12. Fitz Says:

    @ Gonzo, any homer to right at the Bank would be an opposite field homer. Tough to do in any park. Just sayin.

  13. Fitz Says:

    Also, Werth said he would have stayed in Phila if he new his buddy Cliff Lee was coming back. And would have taken less money.

  14. w.k.kortas Says:

    Werth is Josh Willingham's #10 age-31 comp, each with an OPS+ of 121. Granted, the similarities between them are far from exact, but they are roughly the same type of offensive player, and I haven't ever seen anyone suggest that Willingham was worth a multi-year, $100-mil plus contract, so I'm not sure why the Nats wanted to get rid of Willingham and spend the farm on what is at best a slightly better model.

  15. Jaz Says:

    I never said that you said Werth was a bad player. And again, I agree that the Nationals made a mistake in giving him that contract. My point of contention is that you, several times, either stated or implied that his success over the last four years was due to the fact that he played for the Phillies.

  16. Andy Says:

    Jaz, yes, I think a fraction of his success is due to playing for the Phillies and the lineup around him. I also think he's pretty good at getting on base.

  17. John Autin Says:

    Like most people, I thought the contract was nuts. However, I wouldn't be so quick to call it a bust after year.

    I recall a certain outfielder who signed a massive 7-year deal coming off a career-high 132 OPS+, then had an off year, with a 96 OPS+.

    But then he had 3 very productive years in a row, and despite losing some time to injury in the latter seasons, he posted a 134 OPS+ in the final 6 years of the contract.

    That player was Carlos Beltran.

  18. John Autin Says:

    Washington's mistake wasn't in considering Werth a good player. He averaged 4.2 WAR in his last 3 years with Philly, and I think it would be silly to assume that this year's performance represents his "true" level of ability going forward.

    The mistake was in the length of the deal, with carries through his age-38 season. They will pay him about $80 million after he turns 35. That's an irrational commitment to a good but not elite player.

  19. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Deals like these send a message {to me at least} that Rizzo needs to be in another waiting in line to apply for unemployment and food stamps.

  20. John Says:

    It was mentioned repeatedly (including Yahoo's Passan, I believe) that the Nationals are simply not a free-agent destination. As such, they were going to have to overpay, perhaps ridiculously so, to get that first grade-A free agent in there, unless they were willing to wait and bank on the Strasburg/Harper class to draw in free agents all by itself.

    (When I call Werth a grade-A free agent, I'm referring to the hype surrounding his availability, not his talent per se.)

    It wasn't a great contract, but we're barely 12% of the way through it. I'm not sure it's fair to call it a bust just yet.

  21. John Says:

    And I think Andy and Person are also right, that the contract also served as a message to fans about their commitment to not cry poor, and to try to put together a good product on the field. As a Red Sox fan who rarely complains about exorbitant contracts -- looking at you, Lackey: you want box seats or a luxury box for the ALDS? -- I appreciate when the smaller clubs attempt to mix it up with the big boys.

  22. Guy McGuffin Says:

    If Washington signed Werth to be their number 3 hitter, then what would that make Ryan Zimmerman who over the last two seasons was .299/.375/.518 (137 OPS+) compared to Werth's .282/.380/.519 (136 OPS+)?

  23. John Says:

    Mr. Autin,

    You're absolutely right that Werth's contract -- like many others -- is way too long for what the Nats can reasonably expect of him. But length seems to be the going rate of business for the top free agents. The Red Sox have lost a couple players in free agency because they refused the one extra year the player demanded. (Pedro and Damon come to mind. For a while in November 2007, it looked like Mike Lowell would leave for the same reason, and I think the same held true of Victor Martinez last year.) I can say I wasn't happy about the length of Crawford's contract, particularly since he's a player who includes speed among his greatest assets. (Like Werth, I'm not giving up on the Crawford contract, either.)

  24. John Autin Says:

    @20-21, John -- I've that same rationale used many times, e.g., to justify the Mets' offer to Beltran.

    What I don't understand is why teams that feel they have to overpay, and are willing to overpay, never seem to try to fit the "overpayment" into a smaller calendar.

    Werth will average $18 million a year for 7 years, totaling $126 million. I wonder if they ever offered a deal such as 3 years and $75 million, or 4 years and $100 million.

    Those first 3-4 years are likely to be the most productive, and then if (when) he goes free agent again, you get the same draft pick compensation at the end of the shorter deal as you would at the end of the long deal.

    I've no idea whether Werth or any coveted free agent would agree to such a contract, but it seems odd that such deals don't seem to be offered. Maybe there's something in the tax code that makes the longer deal preferable to the team?

  25. deal Says:

    He also plays the same position that the Nats Heralded #1 pick, Bryce Harper, was going to move to at the beginning of 2011.

    I hope for both Werth and Harper they have better futures then there yrs in 2011.

    It should also be noted that the rest of Werth's tools are pretty good even if he doesn't hit. He is a very good outfielder and a pretty good runner - although he has been known to get distracted on the basebaths. Those tools don't make him a $130M man, but they help a little.

  26. Paul E Says:

    Supposedly the Phillies offered 4 years - $72,000,000. I guess it's the case of the bigger fool getting the upper hand.

    Still, if he came back to Citizens Bank Bandbox, batted behind Utley and ahead of Howard, he'd probably go .270/.350/.450 w/25 HR's & 65 BB's, 90 runs and 90 RBI....buit not for too much longer. The length of that contract is insane

  27. Mike L Says:

    The contract is terrible. I'm not sure it's fair to brand the player as terrible, at least not yet. Was his performance helped by being in Philly? Sure, but it wasn't enough to turn a replacement level player into a B+ player. And his improvement came at age 28 (he was out the year before), which would be about the right time to take a step up. Werth was never a great player: it's not that shocking to see him have a down year in adjusting.
    On the other hand, maybe an Adam Dunn for Jason Werth deal is in the works?

  28. Darren Says:

    "Somehow, the Nationals got fooled into thinking that this guy would make a good #3 hitter. This was despite the fact that he's on the wrong side of 30 and generated numbers helped significantly by the team on which he played."

    Wasn't it a pretty good assumption that Werth would be a darn good #3 hitter in 2011? It was a foolish contract overall, but I can't blame the Nats for being "fooled" into thinking he'd be good for the first part of it.

    Also, I agree with the posts above WRT to the team thing. You make it sound like his numbers significantly benefitted from being a member of the Phillies. I think you needed to be more specific about how much and in what way.

  29. Cheese Says:

    Maybe once they finally get to free-agency (the 6+ year thing is crazy btw) they start to think that this could be their last big payday plus chance/excuse/reason to make the team at 38+ years old (security to hold on past prime - werth ain't no Jeter after all).

    I know the Giants just axed Rowand and his $12 mil, but it seems in most cases that a 38 year old making a lot of money will be afforded a lot more patience or tolerance then a 38 y/o who signed for $500k, minor-league deal, or $2 mil?

    At any rate, it seems the player is in control over years and not the club as teams keep increasing the years to one-up the other suitor. So, if players wanted shorter years then wouldn't we see that? Why commit yourself to a franchise for 7-8 years when the 'power' of teams to compete for the playoffs swings on a year or two basis? Pujols wants 10yr/$300 mil right? Does he really want to be on the Cubs for 10 years? What indications are there that they are going to drastically change anything about their org in that timeframe? As long as the contracts are guaranteed, which I believe they are, then it looks like the increase in overall dollars and the chance for longevity play into it.

  30. jim Says:

    i don't agree with your premise here at all. werth was coming off 3 straight 5+ WAR seasons in which he was a plus defender in right and capable of playing center, a very good baserunner, and a very good hitter, posting wOBAs of .385, .382, .382, and .397. there was absolutely every reason to expect werth to continue to mash for at least the first few seasons of that contract. and don't forget that this year has him with a BABIP 40 points below his career average, a LD% higher than last year's but still below his career average, a HR/FB% 4 points below career average. it's not the whole story, but if you look at werth's plate discipline splits, he's swinging at more pitches outside of the zone and fewer inside, while also making more contact in both areas.
    now yes, it's possible werth was just a creation of hitting in that hitter-neutral philly bandstand (oh, wait...) but he was also a well above average hitter on the road, and had been his entire career, regardless of his home stadium.
    was it a bad idea to give werth THAT MUCH money? yes. was it a bad idea to give werth A LOT of money? no, not at all.

    i for one fully expect werth to rake next year.

  31. Andy Says:

    I've been looking into Werth's numbers, and what I found is that he's actually had FEWER plate appearances with baserunners with the Phillies (about 44%) than in the rest of his career (about 47%, although this year with Washington is 44%).
    I'm wondering if this is why Werth has unimpressive RBI totals with PHI despite good OPS+....too many ABs after Ryan Howard cleared the bases?
    I guess if he had a 120 OPS+ with Washington, his RBI totals might be even higher than they were with Philly.

    I appreciate the criticisms, particularly #28, but I'm having trouble figuring out what his carer numbers really mean.

  32. Mike L Says:

    @31 Andy, maybe he's just a B to B+ player. It's the contract that makes him distinctive. The contract created expectations that the player couldn't attain-it was paying for potential in a 31 year old. If it were 4 years 52 million (Damon's last Yankee contract), no one would be paying much attention

  33. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    I like watching Werth play, hope he rebounds.
    Last year he did have a monster year, though apparently the folks in D.C. don't know how to come to this website and check home/away splits:

    .327 .406 .610 1.016
    .266 .371 .457 .829

    As for the Giants, I've never understood why GMs just eat contracts like Rowand's. Does anybody want to pay Rowand 12M next year? Of course not. But there is another GM out there with an awful contract on the books. Surely you can find someone to swap, with the optimistic view of 'maybe the change of scenery will turn these guys around.' If it doesn't work you can always release that guy.

    Hey Sabean, how about Rowand and Zito for Zambrano and Soriano?
    One year each of Rowand and Z. Three years of Alfonso and two years of Zito. Makes so much sense.

  34. Asher Chancey Says:

    @lots of people:

    Jayson Werth's RBI problems?

    Check out his batting average with runners on base and RISP:

    In 2010, he hit .186 with RISP and .255 with runners on base.

    There was also the issue of 18 of his 27 home runs coming at home, where he hit 61 points higher (.327 vs. 266) and had an OPS of 1016 (compared to .829 on the road).

  35. jim Says:

    i really don't understand this perception of werth as a CBP creation - his away wOBAs from 07-10, the philly years, are .388,.389,.374,.362. in 2010 his wRC+ was still 122, despite him allegedly being terrible on the road. where is this coming from? and how can such an enlightened community be propagating such a factual inaccuracy?

  36. Asher Chancey Says:

    @35 Jim, I think there is a difference between "terrible on the road" and "not as good on the road."

    No one thinks that Todd Helton's .870 road OPS is terrible, but it does undercut his .972 career OPS quite a bit, and that should be taken into account when evaluating him.

    Anyone who thinks Jayson Werth was "bad" on the road is wrong, but I think that if you look at the gap between his home numbers and road numbers, you would agree that his numbers are a CBP creation.

    He wasn't terrible on the road, but he wasn't as good, either.

  37. Asher Chancey Says:

    And, by the way, there is an ENORMOUS difference between statistics that are park-adjusted and actual ballpark splits.

    The actual splits will speak volumes that the weighting will not get to. You must check the park-adjusted stats as well as the splits.

  38. jim Says:

    But everyone hits better at home. josh hamilton ran away with the AL MVP last year with MASSIVE splits, and justin upton is probably going to do the same thing this year.

    and anyway, last year was the only year of werth's philly career where there was any kind of significant gap in his H/R performance. not buying it.

  39. jim Says:

    also fangraphs wOBA is not park adjusted

  40. Asher Chancey Says:

    @33 Voomo, I totally agree with you.

    That was the idea behind the Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva swap, remember?

    And, it almost worked out beautifully for the Cubs, except they were too daft to, in turn, trade Silva and his contract for an actual prospect or two after Silva got off to his amazing start in 2010.

  41. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    No matter what advanced stat you use he is awful on the road this year.

  42. Asher Chancey Says:


    You're not "buying it"? What aren't you buying?

    Jim, we know where the hitters parks are: Fenway, Colorado, Rangers Ballpark, Yankee Stadium . . .

    Check out the home/road splits of guys like Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Juan Gonzalez, Vinny Castilla, Dante Bichette - these guys were fundamentally different players away from home.

    Boggs was still awesome on the road, he was just other worldly at home.

    Hamilton did have monster splits while winning the MVP. I would not have voted for him, but enough people did, and he had a good season on a pennant winning team.

    But, if you were a team playing in a pitcher's park - Petco Park for example - would you give Josh Hamilton $150 million dollars over seven years as a free agent?

    You probably would not.


    Because you know he is going to leave some of his bat in Texas.

    And by the way, most people hit better at home, but not 60 average points or 200 OPS points.

    And . . . check out Matt Kemp's splits if you want a look at your 2011 NL MVP.

  43. Asher Chancey Says:

    "and anyway, last year was the only year of werth's philly career where there was any kind of significant gap in his H/R performance. not buying it."

    What you're missing, Jim, is that last season was also the only season in which he looked like a 164 million dollar player, as well.

  44. Genis26 Says:

    If you want extreme home/away splits, take a peak at Youkilis this year:

    Home: 242 PA, 25 2B, 8 HR, 33 BB, 38 SO, .333/.446/.602/1.048
    Away: 232 PA, 5 2B, 9 HR, 30 BB, 51 SO, .191/.310/.356/.666

    An almost .400 point difference in OPS and 20 more doubles at home. If you're a line drive hitter, you're going to rake at Fenway...

  45. Asher Chancey Says:

    Yeah, I saw that:

  46. John Autin Says:

    @38, Jim -- "But everyone hits better at home."

    Not sure what you could have meant by that. Taking it literally, it's a gross overstatement. Many, many players consistently hit better on the road. Look at Adrian Gonzalez in his Padres years; even now, his career OPS is +.133 on the road. Ben Zobrist's home BA is 40 points below his road BA.

    The MLB home/road OPS split this year is .733/.704 -- that's a 4% home edge. A league split of that size isn't even worth bringing up in a discussion of individual splits.

  47. Andy Says:

    Asher I didn't realize you were a professional journalist...thanks for the link.

  48. Thomas Court Says:

    "Not Werth The Money"

    I love it...

    The apologists for Werth can shout back:

    "For what it's Werth, he Is not Dunn yet!!!"

    or how about:

    "What's a Jason Werth? Probably a lot more than it costs to Renteria."

  49. Andy Says:

    He's not Dunn yet....LOL, excellent Thomas!

  50. Asher Chancey Says:

    @Andy: Don't be fooled. It is just a hobby.

  51. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Youkilis is overrated because this season he has 200 poor AB on the road? That's absolutely ridiculous, and I despise Youkilis. He crushed the ball on the road, at home, everywhere for the previous three seasons.

  52. Asher Chancey Says:

    @51: Is "crushed" a fair statement?

    "Crush"ing the ball is not exactly what he is known for. He is known for hitting doubles and getting on base. He has never hit 30 home runs, and has only topped 20 twice.

    Now, we can debate the validity of the notion that overratedness can be a single-season phenomenon, but I hardly think it is worthy of ridicule.

    And I definitely disagree that the worthiness of ridicule is absolute.

  53. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    Giants unload Rowand, Tejada, and Zito to the Cubs for Big Z and Alfonso.
    Then trade them back to Chicago, North Side, for Dunn.
    Then trade Dunn to the Mets for Bobby Bonilla's contract.

  54. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Sorry to throw this in here, but I just ran past it and had to share it.
    We talk a lot here about the "3 true outcomes" - but Mark Reynolds has just taken it to new heights.
    In his last 5 games, 20 PA = 13 SO, 2 BB, 1 HR.
    Walking in 10% of your PAs is good.
    Homering in 5.5% of your at bats is very good.
    But striking out in 65% of your PAs or 72% of your ABs is remarkable.
    In a full season, that is, 60 BBs, 30 HRs and over 400 SOs.
    Granted it is just a five game stretch, but whoah boy.
    3 SOs in 4 games out of five. Ouch!

  55. jason Says:

    actually the nats were offering werth a 7 year 12.6 million dollar contract and werth just exploited the typo; i personally would have forked up 21 million for werth but the nats are a small market team you know.

    seriously though i wouldn't touch 10 mil/season on an offer to a player like werth. about 5 yrs at 8 mil/yr would have been my breaking point.

  56. Biff Says:

    Did anyone honeslty think Werth could lead the Nationals besides the Nationals? Forget the stats. He's not only NOT a 3 hitter, but more importantly not even close to being an ideal centerpiece. Leader money being paid to a good player. Thankfully he'll be in Washington rather than Philadelphia, so he doesn't have to endure boos for 5 years.

  57. Asher Chancey Says:

    The funny thing about the Werth/Nationals deal is how it played in Philadelphia.

    Phillies fans and media were genuinely divided on whether the Phillies should have brought him back. Somehow the narrative that there is a shortage of right-handed hitting outfielders took hold in Philly, and people were genuinely worried that losing him would kill the team.

    It was developing into a Catch-22 for Ruben Amaro - either way, he was going to take flak for either signing him or not signing him.

    But then the Nationals signed him to that enormous contract, and it let Ruben Amaro off the hook, because NO ONE in the City of Philadelphia thought he was worth THAT much. Everyone in town just kind of breathed a sigh of relief that Werth was gone and it was some other idiot that spent all that money.

    That they were in our own division may it all the more . . . say it with me . . . Werthwhile.

  58. Andrew Says:

    Is Amaro lucky or good? The guy he wanted to lock up first was Victorino, not Werth. That's looking like a pretty shrewd move. Not all his moves have been winners--Blanton contract ain't looking too hot, the Howard extension may or may not pan out, the jury is still out on the Polanco deal, and the second Cliff Lee trade was a disaster--but on this he looks great.

  59. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Perhaps "crushed" was the wrong word. He's been a very good offensive player. Home/road OPS the last 3 seasons of 1.019/.900, .992/.933, .983/.967. I don't think he had the reputation of some superstar. This season, he's changed positions, had various injuries all season (including now being on the DL with a bad back), and yet still has an OPS+ of 132. Your reasoning for calling him overrated seems to be that his home/road splits *this season* are huge, therefore he's a Fenway creation. Yes, I think that's ridiculous.

    Sometimes guys have weird splits, and it doesn't mean anything at all. It just happens. Youkilis's recent past shows he's eminently capable of hitting in any park.

  60. Andy Says:

    JT, your BRefrenism is showing. I've used the word "crushed" a few times lately so it must have been floating near the top of your subconscious.

  61. Mike L Says:

    JT, I agree that Youklis is a good player. But Fenway is an exceptional park to hit it. It the park with weird splits, not the player. Think Jim Rice would have made the Hall if he played half his games in Chavez Ravine?

  62. Asher Chancey Says:

    I think the jury is very much still out on Amaro.

    He kinda lucked out on Werth, but he was let off the hook by the Nationals.

    The Cliff Lee deal come down to this - did Amaro genuinely believe he could not have Halladay AND Lee. If not, the Lee deal was great because it allowed us to get Halladay. There is a theory that when he made the deal, he could not have had them both, but by the time the 2010 season ended, the Phillies were so flush with cash, in a way they did not expect to be, that suddenly he COULD have them both.

    Part of me is bothered by the fact that three of the biggest deals of the Amaro Era, the Lidge deal, the Oswalt deal, and the Pence deal, all involved Ed Wade essentially giving away his stars to an old friend. I am not sure we should give it up to Amaro for that.

    And . . . the Ryan Howard deal is a fiasco wrapped in a debacle, and it is going to get very ugly before it is over. The Phils now have to resign Hamels and Rollins, and they are not going to be able to because of all the money they've given Howard. And this is just the beginning.

    If the Phillies win the World Series this year, all is forgiven and he's a genius. If not, look out.

  63. Steve Says:

    OT 3 Cardinals top the list of GIDP.Who has the all time single season record?I'm thinking it would be the Boston Red Sox.

  64. Steve Says:

    62 Is Rollins worth resigning at this point?

  65. Asher Chancey Says:


    I think Rollins is absolutely worth resigning, but with a caveat:

    How much does Rollins think he is worth? There are statements coming from his camp that there will be no hometown discount, and that he is going to expect top-of-the-market value.


    Is that market defined by Derek Jeter? Because if he is looking for $15 mil per for four or more years, then the answer is No, Rollins is not worth resigning.

    I like Jimmy a lot, but you don't pay top dollar long term for a 33 year old shortstop with 7500 plate appearances whose value has almost always been intangible and whose role on the team will become more limited with each ensuing season.

    I'd go 3/30 for him, because I think he has earned that, but anything more would be too much.

  66. Biff Says:


    At the length and the money that Rollins will want, absolutely not. He's too injury prone and on the decline these days; a very "old" 32.

  67. Chuck Says:

    This was the worst free agent contract in history before the ink dried.

    Carl Pavano's a good friend of mine and I saw him at an off-season charity event, and he said there's a huge difference between a player getting a big contract and being hurt and a player getting a big contract who sucks.

    For you sabermetric guys who don't think lineups affect performance, your poster child is Jayson Werth.

  68. BaseballinDC Says:

    First of all Pavano should know all about getting a big contract and failing to deliver - after all he's the poster child.

    Second, let's not judge a seven year contract before the first season's over. Jason Werth has brought a lot of confidence into the clubhouse, and anyone who follows the team on a daily basis is aware of how his attitude toward the game, desire to win and focus on hard work has rubbed off on some of the younger players.

    Was it $17m worth? No. But the Nats HAD to overpay to bring quality players in. It's just something you had to accept.

    Bottom line: it's just way early to make these kinds of judgments.

  69. Andy Says:

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw the irony in Chuck's comment. Pavano had an excellent year in 2004, but that was his first really good year in 4 seasons and the contract the Yankees gave him was very suspect before he even suited up for the team. What happened after that obviously made the contract a terrible deal, but that's 20/20 hindsight. The reality at the time, though, is that the view looked pretty much the same at the beginning.

  70. Cheese Says:

    Tim McCarver: 'I guess its my stubborn Dutch nature, but I'm not all that convinced that the radar gun readings are accurate.'

    Made my night.

  71. Mike L Says:

    Andy @69, I don't think that's entirely fair. As a Yankee fan, I flinch every time I hear Pavano's name uttered. But the truth is that he was signed coming off a year where he finished 6th in the CY voting and had an ERA+ of 137. He had plenty of suitors, including bigger offers from Boston and Cincy, and the contemporary judgement was that he was a good addition. Of course, everyone was wrong and he became the Carl Pavano we all know and love. It is interesting to hear him preach about fulfilling contracts. Shows an awe-inspiring self-awareness.

  72. Steve Says:

    The Carl Crawford signing looks terrible right now.I thought he was a better player than Granderson.He may bounce back but, boy,was this a bad first year in Boston.

  73. Cheese Says:

    @70: Not McCarver...too bad. The guy sounds like him and is just as asinine.

  74. Chuck Says:

    "Asher I didn't realize you were a professional journalist...thanks for the link."

    "@Andy: Don't be fooled. It is just a hobby."

    Writing for ESPN makes you a professional.

    Writing for Bleacher Report makes wish you were writing for ESPN.

    For a $100 deposit into my PayPal account, I'll be happy to provide a "professional" explanation of the difference.

  75. John Autin Says:

    I just hope that NASCAR Carl Pavano didn't hold anything back from Chuck, as he did with Yankee management after breaking his ribs in that 2006 car crash. We know Chuck gives us the straight dope as best he knows it -- but as they say, garbage in, garbage out.

    So, I guess there's also a huge difference between a player getting a big contract and being hurt, and a player getting a big contract and being hurt and alienating his entire team.

  76. John Autin Says:

    'Course, Twins fans would probably say that Pavano was just speaking from his own personal experience on both sides of the "big contract/hurt" and "big contract/sucks" question.

  77. John Autin Says:

    Carl Pavano on Jeopardy! --

    I'll take "Self-Serving Sayings by Credibility-Challenged Celebs" for $1,000, Alex.

  78. Mike L Says:

    John A, maybe he was misquoted? I mean, the buttocks thing-it was like a knife, right? So painful he couldn't even be with the team, much less rehab. And he knew how much it would upset them to see him in that kind of pain....
    An example to as all. He didn't want to burden others.

  79. Doug Says:

    "Low and behold"? Am I the only one to cringe when seeing this?

    JA, what happened to the English teacher correction?

    Or, is that Andy's punny commentary on Jason's stats this year.

  80. Johnny Dunce Says:

    [Carl Pavano] said there's a huge difference between a player getting a big contract and being hurt and a player getting a big contract who sucks.

    No $h!t? Carl Pavano said that? I'm shocked he would feel that way.

    Thank him for the tremendous insight.

  81. Thomas Court Says:


    I see Chuck is still posting on the site.
    I also see he is still as full of himself as ever.

    I hope that he was only kidding about the 100 dollar deposit thing. I know that the sentiment behind him having to explain to the rest of us exactly what makes someone a "professional" sportswriter is absolutely genuine.

    Sportswriters aspire to work for ESPN? Wow... We should all thank Chuck for that nugget of information. A few months ago Chuck refuted a sabermetric point made by Buster Olney (ESPN) by simply stating, "Buster Olney is a tool."

    If Chuck had his way, everyone who posts on this site would have to kowtow before reading or responding to his comments simply because he used to work in the game.

  82. John Autin Says:

    @79, Doug -- Having by now made many mistakes of all kinds in my own blog posts -- not to mention running my mouth on everyone else's -- I feel less inclined to point out what is, at the end of the day, a minor usage error.

    But I will defend to the death your right to do so! 🙂

    Allow me to close with a passage from the noted philosopher, Linus Van Pelt:
    "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
    (Linus may have been quoting some other obscure source; I'm not sure.)

  83. Doug Says:


    JA, since I couldn't even spell Jayson's name correctly @79, I'll say nothing more about Andy's turn of phrase.

  84. Biff Says:


    Apparently, Jason or Jayson doesn't matter. Add Werth to the growing list of Jasons (y) that don't/ won't live up to the multiyear 10+ mill a season contracts they get signed to. Bay, Giambi (not as quite as dreadful but no superhero), Kendall, Schmidt, and now Werth,

  85. Andy Says:

    Low...lo...I never even say that, so I don't know why I wrote it into the post. One of Sean's rules for the blog is to always proofread, and by now you guys have probably figured out that I rarely do, hence lots of little typos. I have only so much time...!

  86. Andy Says:

    True, though, that JA, The English Professor himself, didn't correct me 🙂

  87. Andy Says:

    @71 Mike L:

    I don't agree with you. First of all, there's no saying that the Yankees were the only dumb team. Just because Pavano had multiple suitors, doesn't mean that he deserved such a large contract.

    The other issue is that we fans tend to take these contract offers at face value. There are two truths that most fans do not realize, I think: 1) when a team offers a contract, they often know what another team has offered or will offer, thanks to the friendships that most GMs and assistant GMs share and 2) many contract offers are made with no intent or hope of actually signing the player.

    Point #2 is pursuant to comment 23 above regarding the Red Sox's offers to Pedro and Damon, as well as the Phillies' offer to Werth. It has been pretty well-established (put $100 in my PayPal account and I'll tell you by whom, LOL 🙂 ) that neither team actually wanted those players. They made offers to show their fan base that they were being loyal to fan-favorite players, knowing full well that the offers were too low and that the players would walk.

    Teams also sometimes make contract offers with the express intent of driving up the price for another team. The Red Sox and Yankees did this to each other a few times before realizing that since neither team really has a payroll limit, all they were doing was pushing up player salaries. This strategy would be more effective if there were a salary cap. Nevertheless, it has happened a lot.

  88. Asher Chancey Says:


    "For you sabermetric guys who don't think lineups affect performance, your poster child is Jayson Werth."

    What sabrmetric guys don't think lineups affect performance?

    I think, though I do not know for sure, that most sabrmetricians absolutely understand that lineups affect performance.

  89. Asher Chancey Says:


    "Writing for ESPN makes you a professional."

    "Writing for Bleacher Report makes wish you were writing for ESPN."

    Actually, Chuck, and I'll give you this one without any requisite deposits, writing for any publication that pays you makes you a professional. It could be ESPN or it could be the Gloucester County-Times. And, yes Bleacher Report does actually employ a cadre of professional writers, though 99% of people on the site are not professionals.

    Many of them are like me, attorneys who like to write about sports in their spare time and are looking for an outlet.

  90. Mike L Says:

    Andy @87. I agree that the Red Sox and Yankees like to drive up the price on each other, and maybe that happened in Pavano's case, although why Cincy would care seems a little odd. Epstein and Cashman have a lot of money and can afford busts, and for all their teams' successes, both have had them. I still think Theo is the shrewdest operator in the game. He leverages big money, great contacts with other teams, (mostly) very good talent evaluation, and timely help from the Commissioner's office when needed.
    Pavano wasn't a great pitcher when he was offered a great pitcher contract. And Werth wasn't a great player when he was offered the moon. We agree, both were lousy deals. At least Pavano provides (painful) comic relief.

  91. Andy Says:

    Mike, good points. I have really been enjoying reading your comments since you became a regular here.

  92. Andy Says:

    JA @75, thanks for linking to that. Those stories never get old.

  93. Mike L Says:

    Thanks Andy. There's a lot of great stuff here, and I'm glad I found the site. BTW, John A, that link at @75 was like watching an old Odd Couple or Honeymooners-all the great jokes making you laugh all over again. And, I'm sure all of us hope that the damage to Pavano's Porsche was covered by insurance. Wouldn't have wanted him to go out of pocket...