The Washington Nationals have made the biggest splash of the baseball offseason, but the buzz surrounding it is far from positive. After signing former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth to a 7-year contract worth $126 million, many in the baseball world think that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is taking up residence in Crazytown.
Prior to the Werth deal, the Nationals were best known for Stephen Strasburg and sucking. Rizzo described the move as part of a bigger plan, adding proven major league talent to bolster the players they developed in the minor leagues.
That’s all well and good, but after letting a proven slugger (and 40-home-run-per-season machine) like Adam Dunn walk, this move is a real head-scratcher.
“It makes some of our contracts look pretty good,” new Mets GM Sandy Alderson said, mocking the Nationals and perhaps his predecessor, Omar Minaya.
“That’s a long time and a lot of money. I thought they were trying to reduce the deficit in Washington, D.C.”
Zing! Oh, and one unnamed baseball executive thought he was hallucinating when he heard the terms of the deal. Not exactly ringing endorsements.
Baseball writers are also nearly unanimous in their mockery of the deal. Keith Law of ESPN thinks it was a deal made out of desperation. Jerry Crasnick is kinder, simply labeling the contract as mind-blowing.
When the kindest words describing your signature offseason move involve a head exploding in surprise, you are taking quite a gamble. And while the criticism of the deal is unfair to Werth, who has proven himself to be a very good major league player, the amount of money here is astronomical – even for a solid corner outfielder.
The biggest winner besides Werth? Every other potential impact free agent on the market. Business Insider, in fact, speculates that Rays outfielder Carl Crawford could command a contract in the neighborhood of 10 years and $190 million. Thanks Nats!