Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Going For The Gold

*Note: The first title that popped into my head for this posting was "Is It Werth It?" but I couldn't bring myself to do it. No. I couldn't.

At the age of 31, Jayson Werth is going for the big money in what is his first (and possibly only) major foray into free agency and to that end, he's hired Scott Boras as his agent.

Despite the animosity and polarization engendered by Boras throughout baseball, you can't quibble with the fact that----for his major clients anyway----he gets them paid. They may end up in less that preferable locales in comparison to where they wanted to go, but he gets them their money.

That appears to be what Werth wants, as is his right; but is signing with Boras going to get him that much more money than he'd get from his former agent Jeff Borris? Or from any other reputable representative? In fact, the argument could be made that Werth may have hindered his chances to get paid to some degree by eliminating teams that either refuse to deal with Boras or only do so when they have no other option.

From whom Werth gets it his money is presumably irrelevant to the player, but the number of teams that are going to be able to afford Werth was limited to start with; dropping one or more simply through choice of agent is a risky proposition. Whether or not Werth is going to get a contract in the vicinity of what Jason Bay got from the Mets or Matt Holliday from the Cardinals----his main comparables from last year----is the issue. I tend to think that Werth is a slightly better player than Bay, but not by much----they're in the same sphere. Holliday's better than both, again not by that much and certainly not by $40 million.

That's neither here nor there. Werth hired Boras to get his money. Let's take a look at the potential landing spots for Jayson Werth and whether his new agent will be a boon to the desired end (in no particular order):

New York Yankees:

Werth is linked to the Yankees for reasons I can't seem to understand aside from the fact that the Yankees are mentioned with every big name free agent and they have a load of money.

Where are they putting him?

I suppose they could rotate Werth and Nick Swisher between right field and DH; use Werth against lefties in center field if they choose to sit Curtis Granderson against the tougher southpaws; but why other than that they can? The Yankees don't need another bat and if they did, they'd be better off getting a pure DH type like Jim Thome or Adam Dunn than spending $80-100 million on Werth.

Pitching is on the docket for the Yankees. Years ago, George Steinbrenner might've signed him for no other reason than to make him shave and get a haircut, but now? I can't see them in on Werth.

Boston Red Sox:

If Boras is serious in his attempts to market Werth as a potential center fielder (and Werth can play center adequately), then the Red Sox could be interested. They'll absolutely want his bat and on base ability and he'd demolish the Green Monster. With the Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek and potentially David Ortiz contracts coming off the books, they could fit Werth into their salary structure.

It's a possibility that Werth ends up with the Red Sox.

Baltimore Orioles:

The Orioles are no longer the wasteland for players looking for their final big paycheck. With the young players they've developed under Andy MacPhail and the cachet (along with their excellent play since he took over) of Buck Showalter, the Orioles are a legit player for free agents----and they have money.

Werth was a first round pick of the Orioles in 1997 before he was traded to the Blue Jays after the 2000 season for John Bale. He'd hit in Camden Yards.

Werth is a target for the Orioles.

Chicago White Sox:

He'd fit right in on and off the field. The White Sox are going to need a right handed power bat if they don't re-sign Paul Konerko; signing Werth would free the White Sox to DH Carlos Quentin or move him back to left field; and Werth is from Illinois.

I think this is where Werth ultimately lands.

Detroit Tigers:

They spend freely and need a bat. Magglio Ordonez, Jeremy Bonderman, Johnny Damon are free agents and the Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson sunk contract are gone after this season, so they can pay Werth. I've discounted the Tigers as spenders before and they've jumped into the fray.

They'll check into Werth very seriously.

Los Angeles Angels:

Two reasons the Angels won't sign Werth: 1) they've got their eyes on Carl Crawford and I also think they'll go heavily after Konerko. 2) Boras.

The Angels are one of those teams you can take at their word. When they say they've had enough of dealing with Scott Boras, they mean they've had enough. They only have two players on their roster who are in Boras's stable*----Jered Weaver and Kendry Morales.

*Boras is the Bobby "The Brain" Heenan of baseball.

Why Morales hired Boras is beyond me especially since he's not going to be a free agent until 2014. Weaver was a high draft pick who hired Boras out of college. Apart from that? The Angels don't deal with Boras. They were livid at the way they felt misled by the agent during the Mark Teixeira negotiations and not-so-silently let it be known that they'd had enough. Other organizations would bow to expediency and go after a Boras client if they needed them desperately enough. Werth is not such a player and the Angels aren't such a team to go to back out on that vow.

Forget it.

Seattle Mariners:

That ballpark would be a nightmare for Werth's home run numbers, but they need a bat----any bat----and have the cash to pay him. He's an agreeable choice for the stat zombies----he has power, gets on base and plays good defense. Ichiro Suzuki is in right field and isn't going anywhere, but they have a hole at DH and could find a way to work it out defensively.

They're an option.

Philadelphia Phillies:

They aren't going to have the money to keep him and have a ready-made replacement in Domonic Brown. It would take major creativity to keep Werth. They need to get younger and spending $80-100 million to keep him makes no sense.

New York Mets:

Keith Hernandez is in love with Werth. Whether Keith's voice is heard by the organization in any capacity as to personnel is the question, but one would presume he has a pipeline to the decision-makers to make his feelings known.

Could the Mets do this? Yes. They could either trade Carlos Beltran (unlikely); or Angel Pagan at his high value (possible); sign Werth and stick him in right field. The lineup would be righty-heavy, but so what?

This could only happen if they hire an aggressive GM and try to win in 2011.

Highly, highly improbable.

Washington Nationals:

They're aggressive and have money to spend, but Werth would be a disaster in Washington. To me, Werth is better as an ancillary player and not as the focal point----he'd be the focal point in Washington. His flaws would be exposed and wouldn't help them contend in 2011-2012 unless they started bringing in stars to surround him.

He'd go to Washington if they paid him, but they shouldn't.

Chicago Cubs:

Kosuke Fukudome is a better player than he was ever given credit for by Lou Piniella; they have Tyler Colvin for right field; and just signed Marlon Byrd. They could use Werth and, again, he's from Illinois, but they have nowhere to put him.

San Francisco Giants:

They'd have to find a taker for Aaron Rowand, but they have players they claimed on waivers manning right field----Cody Ross, Jose Guillen----and could use Werth. Would he want to go to San Francisco? Would they want to pay him?


I think Werth ends up with the White Sox and he'll get slightly more money than Bay got from the Mets, but nowhere close to Holliday's contract with the Cardinals; it's also going to drag out into January. Did Werth account for that when he signed with Boras? Did Boras warn him of this eventuality? I wonder on both counts.

  • A Special Kay:

What was the over/under for when Michael Kay used Joe Torre's return to Yankee Stadium to start ripping the former manager?

If you had under the fifth inning, you won.

The egomania of Kay is so far beyond belief that it'd be satire if it wasn't real. In what's a clear window into his self-anointed role as Yankee-protector, Kay chose to take what was a very nice ceremony honoring the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and launch into another chicken-hearted rant against Torre.

It would be one thing if Kay actually provided some context of the genesis of his "feud" with Torre (the feud is one-sided because Torre couldn't care less about what Michael Kay thinks of him), but he doesn't. It's always a series of compliments of the back-handed variety while simultaneously lifting his leg and urinating on the former manager. While discussing the Yankees under Torre's stewardship and the bitter divorce, Kay went into his familiar series of talking points: Torre was paid better than any other manager; he was a failure in all his other jobs; he rejected a contract that had similar incentives as prior Torre contracts, blah, blah, blah.

Why this offends Kay to the degree it does is a mystery. My guess is that Torre made clear that he felt Kay didn't know anything about baseball at some point (probably 15-20 years ago) and the broadcaster has made it a vindictive life's work to try and sully Torre's accomplishments.

This is all meaningless.

Even if there's a reason for Kay to loathe Torre to the degree he does, was it appropriate for him to go into it again on the air? And to do it in the way he always does by crediting and ripping in one wide swath? What difference does it make to Kay? Who is he that he feels as if he's the defender of his version of Yankee lore?

He knows absolutely nothing about baseball to begin with; he's a self-aggrandizing fool who inserted himself into the Yankees-Torre reunion in a petty way as any little man would. Torre was paid well by the Yankees. He was the highest paid manager in baseball over the last three years of his contract----by a lot.


It was over-the-top in comparison to other managers around the league, but was it so far out of line considering the team payroll, that Torre was managing the team during the championship years and he'd handled everything thrown at him and gotten the team to the playoffs every single year of his tenure? If you look at manager salaries around baseball, Torre's was reasonable when you calculate the owners and players they had to deal with.

Torre appeared to want out of the Yankee circus; he was wrong to write that book; the Yankees were wrong to continually try and muck around with Torre after all both had meant to the success of the other. They split. The Yankees hired Joe Girardi and won the World Series last year; Torre went to Los Angeles and re-charged his batteries making himself more money and cementing his position as the ultimate winner.

It's over. Finally. He returned for Steinbrenner's ceremony and the sides reconciled.

What does any of this have to do with Kay? With the Steinbrenner monument unveiling? It should've been a happy moment and reunion between Torre and the Yankees. I'm not even a Yankee fan and am ambivalent to Torre, but I was offended by Kay's sleazy and illogical mutterings. No one cares what Kay says----he's a gadfly who's attached himself like a barnacle to the team----but it was unnecessary and self-serving.

It should be expected by now, but that doesn't make it appropriate in any way.

  • Afraid? Of Omar Minaya?

There's talk that the Mets decision of whether to keep Omar Minaya in another capacity if he's removed as GM could "undermine" whoever takes over----MetsBlog.

With another type of executive and person, I'd say this is a realistic concern, but with Minaya? No. For all his faults, Minaya isn't the type to stab people in the back in a vengeful way. I believe he'd be a loyal and useful assistant/voice to the new baseball boss. Despite his failings, no one can deny Minaya's charm and skills at talent recognition.

To dismiss him because of this fear is silly. In fact, Minaya might be even more useful if he's able to relax and do what he does base----assess players----rather than dealing with the media and inter-organizational crises.

It's up to the new GM, but to get rid of Minaya because of a paranoid fear of disloyalty?


I was a guest with Sal at SportsFan Buzz on Thursday talking about the stretch run. Go to Sal's site to download it on I-Tunes or click it directly here.

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and Noble.com. It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.


kcourtsclayton said...

My recollection is that Joe Torre blasted Michael Kay in the locker room and Kay has never gotten over it. I am not sure what the issue was--maybe it was when the Yes network was being used to send "messages" when the Boss was unhappy about the team and how they were playing--but Torre used Michael Kay to send a message of his own. Regardless of Michael Kay's baseball knowledge (or lack thereof), he has a legitimate reason to hate Joe Torre.
I do agree with you that last night wasn't a night to air grievances

Jeff said...

Michael Kay, Suzyn Waldman, John Sterling... why is it the "best" team in baseball has the WORST broadcasters.

If I hear "tex message" or "a-bomb from A-rod" or "See ya!" or "RODGGGGGGE-UHHHHHH" again I will hurt someone very seriously.

Brooklyn Trolley Blogger said...

You hit everything on the sweet spot. I can't add a thing....hate when you do that.