Over the next three weeks, CBS Sports' MLB Facts and Rumors will be profiling both free agents and trade candidates who will help stoke the fires of the Hot Stove League. Today, free agent Jayson Werth.
Jayson Werth is one of the stranger free agents to come around, considering he just seems to be peaking right now, but is 31. He's been healthy the last two years, but has struggled with injuries in the past (including knee injuries) and didn't become a full-time starter until he was 29. His average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage have all improved each of the last three years, and while his home runs were down in 2010, he hit 46 doubles. Werth is also a good defensive outfielder and can play all three, but is best in right.
2010: ..296/.388/.532 with 27 home runs, 85 RBI
career: ..272/.367/.481 with 120 home runs, 406 RBI
Werth avoided arbitration in 2009, signing a two-year deal worth $10 million, plus a $1 million signing bonus.
WHAT IT WILL TAKE
Werth is represented by Scott Boras, who apparently is looking for "Matt Holliday" money, meaning a seven-year deal worth $120 million. I'm not one to doubt Boras' ability to screw some team into that kind of long-term investment, but I'm just not sure anyone will bite, especially considering Werth will be 32 next May, and then would be 39 at the end of a seven-year contract. A more realistic goal could be Jason Bay's four-year, $66 million contract. In the end, I'd guess he gets something in between, maybe five years and $85 million?
WHERE HE COULD GO
Carl Crawford seems to be a better fit for the Red Sox, but if they can't land him, Werth is a good backup plan. J.D. Drew is a free agent after 2011, one of the two could shift to left
There have been reports that the Yankees don't have much interest in Werth or Crawford, but you can never count the Yankees out of a free-agent chase.
Werth would be an upgrade for the Giants' offense, and also would help out on defense.
The White Sox and Tigers seem like places he'd fit as well, with both of those teams certainly looking to spend a little dough. He could also be a fit in Anaheim, if the Angels don't land Crawford. But being a Boras client could make him less appealing in Anaheim.
The Padres reportedly had talks with the Phillies about a trade for Werth before the trade deadline, but if the Padres can't afford to keep Adrian Gonzalez around, it seems unlikely they can pay the price that Boras will demand.
One team that doesn't seem to be a fit is the Phillies, who are prepared to move on with Domonic Brown as their right fielder.
Werth won't sign anywhere quickly. He'll be tied to what happens with Crawford, which will set a ceiling to his contract demands, as well as eliminate the bidding teams by one. If Crawford goes to Anaheim, Werth would be a fit for the Red Sox, signing a five-year deal to go to Boston.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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