Much has been made out of Jayson Werth’s offseason departure from the Phillies after accepting a huge $126 million, 7-year deal from the Nationals. On Tuesday night, Werth will face his former team for the first time as the Phillies travel to D.C. for a three-game series.
Some fans have expressed their disappointment that Werth chose a big paycheck over staying with a winning team. After all, Cliff Lee gave up more money from the Yankees to come back to Philadelphia.
But in the same circumstance, most people would take the money. And the offer Werth got from the Nats was significantly more than the Phillies offered. So can you really blame him?
Money aside, there may be other reasons that Phillies fans feel the need to boo Werth. For example, this past February, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post quoted Werth as saying, “I hate the Phillies, too,” in response to a comment made by Washington GM Mike Rizzo.
Then in late March, an interview with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. by nick DiUlio of Philadelphia Magazine revealed more angry words by Werth. Amaro stated he received a text message from Werth after the Lee signing that said, “BOOOOOOOO!”
The next part of the same article read as follows: “That reaction from Jayson was funny,” says Amaro in his office in February, again flashing that smile. “He was pissed*off. He had just signed with Washington. He said to me, ‘You dum*bass. You could’ve had both of us.’ And I said, ‘You’re the dum*bass. You could have taken our arbitration offer.'”
While Werth is clearly sore over the deal, should fans be sore about Werth’s reaction?
But a few childish and angry words should not overshadow what Werth contributed to the Phillies team over four seasons. He helped them win the 2008 World Championship, played solid defense and added some pop to the line-up.
While Werth’s choice of words could be perceived as blatant disrespect for a team and a fan base that always had his back, the words were spoken out of shock and likely, disappointment.
Games in D.C. against the Phillies have been traditionally overrun with Phillies fans in the past several years. So, despite this being a home game for the Nats, Phillies fans will be heard.
So the question then remains, to boo or not to boo? Booing is not really my style, but each person is free to make their own choice. Ultimately, I hope Werth hears more cheers than boos out of appreciation for the time he was in Philadelphia.
And if you would really like Werth to feel bad about his poor choices of words this offseason, there is no better way than offering up a loud, hearty cheer to make him regret the indiscretion.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography