According to John Paul Morosi of FoxSports, Jayson Werth has multiple suitors. The most serious of his suitors appear to be the Phillies, Red Sox, and Tigers. The Rangers and Angels are also rumored to be interested in signing the 31 year old right fielder, but would likely only become active players if their primary targets signed with other teams.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not sold on the idea that the Phillies are really interested in bring Werth back. Amaro’s quote from Randy Miller’s recent article only strengthens my opinion:
"Oh, I think it's a possibility," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said by phone Thursday. "We never ruled it out. People can speculate whatever they want to speculate. We've never said we don't want to bring him back."
See what I mean? While he says the Phillies haven’t ruled out bringing Werth back, he never goes as far as saying that bringing him back is a priority. With every comment he makes, it feels like he’s playing along to keep up appearances and placate the fan base. To my knowledge, there haven’t been any rumors or reports of Werth meeting with the Phillies brass to discuss a new contract. While those meetings may occur in the near future, the absence of said rumors is the reason I question Amaro’s sincerity.
As for the Red Sox, they met with the right fielder on Wednesday in Chicago. The purpose of the meeting was not to exchange contract offers, but to give both parties a chance to meet and get to know each other.
While the Red Sox are considered the favorites to sign Werth, it appears they’ve have actually made Carl Crawford their primary target with Werth being their Plan B. This strategy is actually pretty sound. The Red Sox know Scott Boras will probably keep Werth from signing until after Crawford signs, presumably to drive up the demand for his services. This gives the Sox a chance to put all of their efforts into signing Crawford. If Crawford were to sign with another team, the Red Sox can switch gears, and put all of their resources into signing Werth.
Negotiations should start to heat up next week when baseball leadership convenes for the Winter Meetings. Werth is reportedly looking for Matt Holliday money. In other words, he wants a six or seven year deal worth $20M per season. This seems to be a tad excessive to me considering his age and skill set. Werth is a very good player, but he’s not a 6-7 WAR player like Holliday. When it’s all said and done, he’ll probably sign a five year contract worth $17-18M annually.