Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No Trade Clause for Werth? Amazing...

Ok.  It's official.  Scott Boras has some naughty pictures of Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, and he used them to blackmail Rizzo into giving Jayson Werth that ridiculous 7 year $126M contract.  How do I know?  The terms of the deal just got crazier.  The Nationals gave him a full no trade clause.

Take a deep breath.  You heard me right.  The Nationals gave a 31 year old right fielder (albeit a very good one right now) a 7 year $126M contract with a full no trade clause.  NBC Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra brought some much needed levity to the situation as he want to do:
 "I find this interesting only insofar as I thought that a seven-year, $126 million contract to a corner outfielder over 30 was a defacto no-trade clause to begin with."
Touche.  My problem with the no trade clause given to Werth is that it's gratuitous.  To make matters worse is that it didn't sound like there was any actual negotiating involved in this deal.  Based on the reports I've read, Rizzo offered the contract to Werth (through Boras), and Boras said something to the effect of, "Where do we sign?"  The Nationals probably could've gotten away with either not offering the clause at all, or negotiating the clause into the contract but with a lower average annual salary.  Essentially, the Nationals out negotiated themselves.  Even if they wanted to get out from underneath this albatross of a contract (and they will), they won't be able to unless they get expressed written permission from Werth himself.  Yikes!  

Other highlights from the press conference include the following nuggets:
"One thing I saw with the Nationals team the last few seasons, competing against them, is a grittiness and a willingness to win. They have some talent. It's very young and unpolished. ... I look forward to working with them."
Being a DC Metro resident, I got a chance to see the Nationals a lot, too.  I wish I hadn't, but I did nonetheless.  Outside of Strasburg and Zimmerman (and the occasional Dunn bomb), this team was depressing to watch.  They might have some talent, but they're hardly very talented.  He's got a few 74-88 seasons in his future, so I hope he still enjoys "working with them" in two or three years.
"Over the course of my career I've played with guys who've played into their 40s and seen the kinds of things you need to do to keep yourself in shape. My grandfather played 19 years...I think I have a long career ahead...definitely into my 40s.
Now, that steroid testing is in place, you see player's declining much earlier than their early 40s--unless their name is Jamie Moyer, and he doesn't count because he's a freak of nature.  I have no doubt Werth will keep himself in excellent shape.  I do have serious doubts of him being worth the money he'll be paid in the last three years of his contract.
"The young talent in this organization is immense. With the length of the contract I got, I felt good about this. ... I've been in the postseason a lot the last few years. That's what you play for, what you get to spring training early for. I hate to lose, that's for sure. I don't want to say anything bad about Philly. Look at last year, we had the best record and we didn't win. Nothing's guaranteed. We've got a good scrappy team. You go out there and take your chances."
Yes, Strasburg, Harper, and both Zimmermans are immensely talented.  Outside of that, the Nationals have a pretty shallow farm system, especially at the upper echelons.  Most publications have them ranked in the middle of the pack at best in 2010, and most of that was due to Strasburg.  I love how he says he "hates to lose," yet he signed with a team that's lost 478 games (average of 95.6 games) in the last five seasons. 

Yeah, this wasn't all about the money at all.  Was it?  And that's ok.  There are very few people that would turn down that kind of money, especially when they were being offered between 60-70% of that from other teams.  I just wish people would drop the charade.

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