The Nationals Proved Jayson Is Werth A Lot of Money
Since moving from Montreal to D.C., the Washington Nationals have been trying to shed the losing stigma placed upon them from all of those miserable years of playing baseball in Canada. They now have a new owner, new ballpark, new general manager, and a new vision of how to right the ship and get this team back into contention. From ’05-’09 the Nationals were in Phase I of rebuilding, meaning they were in the process of overhauling their entire farm system with solid draft picks in an attempt to stockpile young talent.
With the recent, bold move to sign Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract that has all but signaled the start of Phase II for the Nationals.In years past, Washington would be looking to unload players with a salary like Werth’s, but now they are on a mission to seek out players of his caliber to add to their roster. This part of the rebuilding phase is going to be where the Nationals start to become players in both the free agent and trade markets looking to add impact players so they can become more competitive and win the NL East. It will be interesting to see if the Nats are going to stand pat this week as the winter meetings begin. With Adam Dunn headed to the southside of Chicago, they have a gaping hole at first base and could use another veteran, starting pitcher.
Now the question remains, will the Nationals break the bank for another high-priced, free agent?
Jim Riggleman joined ESPN 980 in DC to talk about whether signing Jayson Werth coincided with Adam Dunn leaving for Chicago, if it is safe to say that choosing not to re-sign Adam Dunn was strictly a baseball decision and money didn’t have a factor, and whether the Nationals are done acquiring players this offseason.
Whether signing Jayson Werth coincided with Adam Dunn leaving for Chicago:
“Well this was part of the plan all along. Mike Rizzo and the Lerner family handled all of this and had conversations with Jayson Werth. Mike Rizzo and I talked about this in August or September, if the Phillies don’t bring Werth back he would be a great option for us and if we could get it done, great. Certainly there was a lot of clubs out there with interest in Jayson so we didn’t really have any concrete thoughts we thought it would get done. Mike and the Lerners made a great commitment and they got it done.”
If it is safe to say that choosing not to re-sign Adam Dunn was strictly a baseball decision and money didn’t have a factor:
“Well I think that is a big statement because unfortunately the Lerner family took some hits in Washington from fans and bloggers and so forth about not coming up with the money and the fact is they did come up with the money. It is just the White Sox came up with more and more years. We made a commitment to Adam Dunn but the White Sox made a stronger commitment. You draw the line somewhere and that is where they drew the line, and Adam to his credit, got a better deal. So it wasn’t about money, because like I said, we offered him a lot of money. We offered a lot of money to a pitcher, who chose to re-sign in Colorado. So that wasn’t about money and we didn’t get that player either, but we got this player and the money is huge, but it is about the player. Player’s play, money doesn’t play. You can have players that make a lot of money that don’t play well and you can have players that don’t make much money and it doesn’t mean they are not going to play well. So it is about the player.”
Whether the Nationals are done acquiring players this offseason:
“No. No, we’re not done and one of the most interesting things is all of these people that work in the organization now who handle so many administrative things and they got all of these numbers and statistics and all. One of the statistics I get is some payroll planning and they look at the year ’13 and they look at the year ’14 and they make projections and stuff. So this is all within a plan that will work in terms of the money that was spent on Jayson Werth and it is not going to tie our hand for this year and next year, it is just a commitment to a player that is in him prime and we feel as in our division he was a force to be reckoned with and now we can put him on our side.”
On if Jayson Werth makes the Nationals a contender:
“If you look at all of the clubs that contend and the clubs that are in the playoffs, it keeps coming back to pitching and we know that for us to really take the next step it is going to have to be with the addition of some pitching and that pitching may come in the form of Stephen Strasburg in another eight or ten months. It may come in the form of a kid like Cerris, who we drafted last year who has made a lot of progress in the fall league, and like John Lannan and the ones that we already have, Zimmerman, these guys, these pitchers that ultimately they will put a big stamp on how far you can go , but you can’t win with no offense. We have got to have offense and Jayson Werth is a good offensive player, Zimmerman, Desmond, the young kid Ramos that we have got. We will get a first baseman one way or another, we will have another player there, Willingham… We feel like we have got a lot of offensive layers now and more athletic on the field but ultimately we know that we have got to upgrade our pitching as well.”