Monday, December 6, 2010
Werth's deal just another Boras coup
It's not easy to come up with something that hasn't already been said about this deal, particularly considering that everyone's pretty much saying the same thing. Everyone except Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, anyway:
Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, who didn't know the deal had been finalized until just before it was announced, was the Dodgers bench coach while Werth played for Los Angeles.
"We got the inside scoop on who the man is and who the person is," Rizzo said. "Jim is a great judge of character and clubhouse presence. He was very flowery in his praise in Jayson on and off the field. He feels, like I feel, Jayson's best days haven't been had yet."
Werth is the grandson of Ducky Schofield and nephew of Dick Schofield, a minor league teammate of Rizzo. In addition, Rizzo has scouted Werth since he played high-school ball.
"I've been a fan of his lineage and his family," Rizzo said.
Maybe that last bit doesn't mean anything, just a tossed-off comment. But there are a lot of people within the game who do give a player extra credit if his father or his uncle or his grandfather played in the major leagues. And while I won't suggest that it's irrelevant (even if it probably is, at this point), I will suggest that Werth's lineage probably tells us a lot less about his future than his nearly 6,000 professional plate appearances do.
All those plate appearances tell us that Werth is a really good hitter. He broke through with a pretty good season in 2004. The next two years were mostly lost to wrist injuries, and we can basically throw those out. Werth came back in 2007 and gave the Phillies roughly what he'd given the Dodgers three years earlier. He played more in 2008 and '9, and he played better. In '09 he did hit 36 home runs and draw 91 walks, but even then he was less great than good.
Werth was great in 2010. Or nearly great, depending on how you measure his defense in right field. At the least, he was really, really good.
So we've got a player who's going to turn 32 next spring. He's got roughly five healthy seasons under his belt. In two of those seasons, he was a part-time player. In two of them, he was a full-time player. In one, he was somewhere in the middle.
In four of those seasons, Werth was good. He wasn't an MVP candidate or anything. He didn't score 100 runs, or drive in 100. He was good.
In the fifth of those seasons, he was excellent. And somehow, some way, Scott Boras turned one excellent season into $126 million. Which is just one more piece of evidence -- as if we needed one -- that Boras is a) the best agent in the business, and b) quite a bit smarter than at least a few general managers.