Tagged: Jayson Werth

Werth Signs With The Nationals


34B.jpgIn a shocking move, Jayson Werth has signed a 7-year deal with the last place Washington Nationals, snubbing higher-profile teams like the Red Sox.  After losing Adam Dunn to the White Sox and star rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg to Tommy John surgery, the Nats needed a seat-filler.  Attendance in DC has been pathetic over the years due to a lack of success for the team and very high ticket prices. 

In the last two years, the Nats ranked 24th and 23rd place for attendance out of 30 teams.  The acquisition of Werth should produce a spike in season ticket plans, not to mention a spike in team batting average and runs scored.  The exact terms of the contract have not yet been disclosed, but it is in the area of $126 million dollars.

The real shock is that Werth chose to sign with a last-place team.  The Nats are trying to build a winner, but realistically, this will not happen overnight.  In fact, their biggest obstacle may be the Phillies who have won the division 4-straight years now.  But Werth has his ring already so maybe winning is now lower on his list than money and stability.

As for the Phillies, they now have a huge, gaping hole in right field to be filled.  With Domonic Brown leaving Winter Ball early today due to being “tired and sluggish,” big questions remain as to his ability to fill the spot.  Worst case scenario is that the left-handed  Brown will have to platoon with righty Ben Francisco.
Brown Francisco.jpgAnother right-hander who may be able to platoon with Francisco or even Ross Gload is John Mayberry Jr.  In 11 games with the big club in 2010, Mayberry batted  .333 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI.  He has been working on his stroke in AAA and, if Brown is not ready, Mayberry might be a better option.

There is a list of free agents as well that may also be able to fill the hole.  The top choice for Charlie Manuel is probably Matt Diaz.  The two men live in the same neighborhood and spend time together in the offseason.  Diaz is a lifetime .301 hitter who got little playing time with the Braves last season.  However, Diaz did find time to tackle a rouge Phillies fan on the field back in September.  He is almost a folk-hero in Philly already after that feat.

A few other options include Jeff Francoeur, Carlos Quentin or Scott Hairston.  With a little more creativity, the Phillies may wish to consider former Phillie Aaron Rowand.  The Giants have indicated that Rowand is not in their plans going forward and may be willing to eat his huge salary just to get rid of him.  Rowand struggled last year at AT&T Park.  Perhaps the smaller, friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park can revive his bat?

A few other long-shot free-agents might be Willie Bloomquist, Joe Inglett or Jose Guillen.  Whichever way the Phillies decide to go, it is clear that Werth has left very big shoes to fill.  He will be missed.

Howard Saves Mets Fans While Free Agency Heats Up

Yes, Ryan Howard saved some Mets fans from certain death…on TV anyway.  Last night both Howard and Chase Utley made guest appearances on the show “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.”  Howard may have gotten the biggest laugh of the night when he stopped one of the characters from attacking a few Mets fans:


Howard Mets fan.jpgUtley did not have many lines, which is probably a good thing.  So while a career in acting is out, at least his hair looked terrific.  And Howard got the best line of the night with, ” I just saw you bite that dude.”

Crossing Broad has the video of their segment, in case you missed it.

Free Agent News With a Dash of Sarcasm

– Pitcher Kyle Kendrick and outfielder Ben Francisco were both tendered contracts yesterday in order to keep them with the Phillies and out of free agency.  Francisco was a no-brainer.  And due to a lack of starting pitching depth, signing Kendrick makes sense as well…unless his 27.51 ERA with 2 outs and runners in scoring position bother you.

– The San Francisco Giants have asked Pat Burrell to return and signed him to an undisclosed amount.  Apparently his 0 for 13 with 11 strikeouts World Series performance prompted the signing?  Here is another fun Burrell fact; Pat “The Bat” has two World Series rings and only one World Series hit.  It is good to be The Bat.

Adam Dunn and his 38 home runs in the 2010 season signed a four-year, $56 million dollar deal with the White Sox.  The Washington Nationals collective batting average immediately dropped about 100 points.  Attendance will likely drop to a 15 fan per game average.

– Star closer for the Yankees, Mariano Rivera, 41, has been signed to a new two-year deal.  As part of the contract negotiation, Rivera will still be allowed to use his Senior Citizen discount at the team gift shop.

Jayson Werth has still not signed with the Phillies and hell has not yet frozen over.  Coincidence?

Have a great weekend!

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

Are Rumors Werth Listening To?

In the digital age, rumors fly much quicker than they used to.  It literally takes only seconds to post a rumor online and create a huge buzz over basically nothing.  The same applies to Phillies free-agent  right fielder, Jayson Werth. 
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Early this morning, a talk-show radio host mentioned that the Phillies had offered Werth a contract and that it was good enough for him to possibly sign.  Should you give credence to this rumor?  The simple answer is “No.”

Black Friday came and went and no “sale” on outfielders was ever advertised.  Tomorrow is Cyber Monday; for those awaiting a holiday miracle and second-chance sale on Werth, put it out of your mind.  It is not going to happen.  The odds of Werth returning to Philly are about the same as the possibility of a meteor landing on your house; for the record, those adds are about 182,138,880,000,000 to 1.

Did you know there is even a web site page on eHow.com dedicated to helping people determine if rumors are true?  One of the suggestions says, “Send at text to (CHA CHA) 242 242 with any rumor questions and they might be able to answer your question in just a few minutes.”  Is this not the basic equivalent to shaking a Magic 8-ball?

So if you prefer logic to magic text messages, just look at the facts.  The Phillies already have $143 million dollars committed to 2011 salaries.  Werth is going to aim for an average of $15 million a year.  Nearing the $160 million dollar mark does not leave room for improvements elsewhere, like in the bullpen.  Plus, while Domonic Brown may not be ready to take over full-time in right field, he is close enough.  The Phillies can find help elsewhere for the one year or so until Brown is ready.

Now think about some of the moves GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has already made.  If Amaro was not willing to pay to keep Cliff Lee, $15 million a year for Werth seems even more like a huge, unsustainable amount.  The Phillies are also not afraid to platoon players to fill the spot, as evidenced by previous pairings like Werth and Geoff Jenkins.  While this will not improve the position at all, it is possible that the Phillies will settle for a platoon of Ben Francisco and Brown if all else fails.

Players will wait to get the best offer.  Remember after the 2007 season when the Phillies gave a solid 3-4 offer to Aaron Rowand to return?  The Giants came in with a 5-year deal and Rowand walked.  It will be the same with Werth; even if the Phillies offer a very good deal, odds are that another team will outbid them.

And if all that has not quelled your suspicions that this weekend’s rumor might be true, take it from Werth himself.  CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Werth said via text message about being close to signing, “Not at all. It’s very early. I will make an informed decision in due time.”  So you can choose to believe the magic CHA CHA eHow text message or the verified text message sent to Salisbury.  Magic or logic; you decide.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Samuel Returns To Philly

The Phillies have hired ex-Phillie Juan Samuel to fill the void left when first base coach Davey Lopes walked after failed contract negotiations.  Samuel started his 16-year big league career with the Phillies, playing second base from 1983 to part of 1989. 
SamuelJ.jpg
Later in his career, Samuel played both second base and outfield positions and was known as an extremely versatile player.  More recently, he  coached third base for the Orioles and also served as interim manager when Dave Trembley was fired in June.

Samuel will take over as third base coach and outfield instructor for the Phillies while Sam Perlozzo moves to first base.  When asked about returning the Philadelphia, Samuel told reporters, “I couldn’t be happier.  I’m ecstatic going back and joining an elite group of players and manager.  It’s a dream come true.”  Samuel was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2008 and has always been a fan favorite.  It will be nice to have him back.

In other news, the Phillies have made a small flurry of insignifigant moves in the past week or so.  They have signed Pete Orr, 31, to a minor league deal.  The infielder has spent much of his baseball career lingering in the minors where he hit .264.

In the catcher category, the Phils re-signed Dane Sardinha who hit .205 in his time with the Phils last year and .207 in the minors.  They also picked up Erik Kratz, 30, who hit .274 in the Pirates AAA system.


Bonine-Adult.jpgContinuing to add minor-league pitching, Eddie Bonine, 29, was added as well after spending time in the Tigers bullpen last year.  Bonine had a record of 4-1 with a 4.63 ERA in 47 appearances and one start in 2010.  His name indicates that he is good at preventing nausea, however, his stats indicate otherwise.  Yuck.  Well, at least they picked up one guy under 30….barely.

As for Jayson Werth, there is still little news.  He and his super-agent Scott Boras are out and about trying to see who is willing to get serious about overpaying the outfielder.  The odds of Werth returning to the Phillies lessen as each day passes.  But truthfully, the odds may have been close to 1% to begin with.  Don’t hold out hope…it is very unlikely that Werth will be back in red pinstripes.

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

2010 Phillies Photo Tribute

I normally do not have this video done before Christmas, but it is amazing how much extra time that the lack of a World Series provides ;o)  For those who have missed it previous years, at the end of every season, I pick out my favorite Phillies photos from that year and put them into a video slideshow.  These photos were all taken by me and my giant zoom lens, from the stands, at both home and away games throughout the season.

In the 2010 season, I attended 27 games and 7 Phillies-related special events, like the Phestival and the Phillies Cruise.  Yes, it was down year for me due to a lack of funds ;o)   Going through the digital files on my computer, I calculate that I shot more than 18,000 photos at Phillies games this year.  If you add in the special events, the total is over 25,000.  Of those, I picked out and published around 5,000.  The slideshow contains the best of the game shots for a total of 257 photos. 

I am eternally grateful for the invention of the digital camera.  Remember the days when we had to use film?  That was one expensive habit.  Well, here it is…enjoy!

 

 

Thank you for stopping by!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Utley and Rollins 2010 Analysis

Continuing my series on the 2010 player breakdown, today I will analyze the season’s of second baseman Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins.  Here is a quick look at some of their key stats for the last 5 seasons:

Utley

SEASON

G

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

AVG

OBP

SLG

2006

160

658

203

40

4

32

102

.309

.379

.527

2007

132

530

176

48

5

22

103

.332

.410

.566

2008

159

607

177

41

4

33

104

.292

.380

.535

2009

156

571

161

28

4

31

93

.282

.397

.508

2010

115

425

117

20

2

16

65

.275

.387

.445

Rollins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEASON

G

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

AVG

OBP

SLG

2006

158

689

191

45

9

25

83

.277

.334

.478

2007

162

716

212

38

20

30

94

.296

.344

.531

2008

137

556

154

38

9

11

59

.277

.349

.437

2009

155

672

168

43

5

21

77

.250

.296

.423

2010

88

350

85

16

3

8

41

.243

.320

.374

 

Both players have been in a steady decline; some of it has been due to injury and some of it is more mysterious.  The downward trend of their power numbers, as reflected in the slugging percentage, is concerning.  This means both players are getting fewer extra-base hits overall and less production.


b BP and warmups (4).jpgMost of Utley’s issues have been the result of injuries piling up; a broken hand in 2007; hip surgery after the 2008 season; and surgery on a sprained thumb this year.  Rollins, on the other hand, has had fewer injuries.  After winning the MVP award in 2007, he sprained his ankle in 2008 but it was not very serious.  This year, Rollins had a strained calf and later, a hamstring issue, which made it a very bad season for J-Roll.

Questions have arisen about Rollins’ off-season preparation as he gets older combined with a heavy work load.  Among all active players, Rollins, age 31, ranks 32nd in career at-bats with 6291.  Among players 31 years of age or younger, he has the 2nd most career at-bats behind only Adrian Beltre with 6874 at-bats.  So a new off-season routine may be in order.

For the most part, both players are still clutch performers as indicated by the 2010 situational stats below:

UTLEY

AVG

SLG

ROLLINS

AVG

SLG

Bases Empty

.246

.426

Bases Empty

.214

.315

Runners On

.315

.470

Runners On

.304

.500

RISP

.333

.521

RISP

.329

.557

RISP w/2 Outs

.371

.714

RISP w/2 Outs

.375

.700

Bases Loaded

.600

1.200

Bases Loaded

.200

.500

 

As an example of a polar opposite, right fielder Jayson Werth hit only .186 with runners in scoring position; Utley and Rollins hit .333 and .329 respectively.

It was not a great year for either middle infielder.  It does seem that the work load, which has included 4 straight seasons of extra work due to post-season play, is taking a toll.  And as they get older, it will only get more complicated to find a way to endure a 162+ game season.

But after getting slapped around in the NLCS and knowing the strong work ethic of Utley and Rollins’ drive to succeed, I predict both players will make the adjustments and come out swinging in 2011.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Amaro Discusses The Near Future

In a press conference today, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. discussed many issues including free agents, the “age” issue and the disappointing offense this year. 
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The hot topic of discussion centered around right fielder, Jayson Werth.  Amaro did not close the door on the issue by any means, but it certainly seems like a long shot for Werth to return.

Werth stated in a later press conference that he was “looking forward to the experience of being a free agent” and that “Philly is one of the teams in consideration.”  He also hired monster agent Scott Boras in September; the only reason to do this is if he is looking for a huge contract, which the Phillies likely cannot afford.

Amaro was quick to point out Werth’s struggles this year: “It wasn’t an extraordinary year. He had a tough time with men in scoring position. It wasn’t as productive a year as he’s had in the past.”  In fact, Werth batted only .186 in these situations which ranks 215th out of 218 qualified players.

My gut feeling is that Werth will not be back.  I predict he will be in Yankees pinstripes soon; New York is geographically in the same area plus his stepfather, Dennis Werth, played for the Yankees from 1979-1981.  Not to mention that the Yanks may be one of the few teams who can afford to pay him what he wants.

As for the aging Phils, Amaro did not seem overly concerned saying that the team’s core players are “very productive players and they’re not beyond their prime years.”  He also added that an injection of youth may be a good thing as well.  If Domonic Brown takes over for Werth, that is one step towards getting younger.

While it was not discussed today, my thought is that moving Raul Ibanez who is owed $11.5 million next year is a good way to clear up payroll space as well as get a little younger.  We love Rauuuuul…however, he has been streaky at best and will turn 39 in June.  Then again, it will not be easy to move an declining player with a hefty salary so, this may not even be possible.

Also up for discussion was the lack of offensive production which prompted many questions about a possible shake-up.  Amaro seems happy with the core of the team but did note that they “just didn’t have the right approach” at the plate.  He also stated that, “Some guys may be looking at preparing a little differently for the 2011 season as they get older.”  Amaro noted Jimmy Rollins in this category and said all the innings he has played over the years may be taking a toll.

I looked it up; among all active players, Rollins, age 31, ranks 32nd in career at-bats with 6291.  Among players 31 years of age or younger, he has the 2nd most career at-bats behind only Adrian Beltre with 6874 at-bats.  So yes, Rollins may need a different off-season routine to keep up this pace.

Mike Sweeney Needs A Hug

One of the most difficult moments after Saturday’s loss was watching veteran Mike Sweeney give a post-game interview.  He was nearly in tears as he discussed the end of the season and contemplated his future:

Prior to the interview, Sweeney could be been seen in the background of a Ryan Madson interview, standing for a long time, still in uniform, with his head resting against his locker.  After a while, he sat, clearly downtrodden, and put his head in his hands.

Sweeney after game.jpg

This was a heartbreaking scene.  Sweeney has been praised by nearly everyone for his team spirit, positive attitude and for been an amazing and kind human being.  His long, productive career aside, this is a quality guy and it was painful to see him in such agony after the loss, especially when he had only one at-bat the whole post-season.  He did make the most it though, with a pinch hit in the NLDS.

If you would like to offer a virtual HUG to Mr. Sweeney, please visit my Facebook page, “I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney” and share your thoughts.  I am going to see if I can get someone to direct him to the page in the hopes that our messages of support might lift his spirits.

Thank you to all the Sweeney supporters already out there for stopping by!

 

Werth photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*