by Squirrel Master
On a cold, windy Sunday in the most powerful city in the world, when the Redskins again proved that they-are-what-we-thought-they-were, the Wizards continued their road-woes and the Terrapins of Maryland were sloppier than a Ben’s Chili Dog, D.C. sports fans were provided a glimpse of hope in the signing of Slugger Jayson Werth to a 7-year, $126 million dollar deal. The Lerners are open for business with a big free agent splash.
My gut reaction – Holy god, was Uncle Teddy hittin’ the sauce with Danny Boy and taking advice from the Best Bank in Town? After all, Haynesworth has officially proved that if you use Mr. Snyder as your financier, you don’t even have to work to get money. Eighteen million a year and you wouldn’t give Dunn 14 per? We all know the Nationals are a team that must overpay free agents but on the surface this deal appears like another Boras masterpiece.From Adam Kilgore’s excellent piece:
“The Lerners and I don’t share Thanksgiving dinner,” Boras said. “But we’ve shared a lot of dinners lately, that’s for sure.”
My rational reaction – this is a great signing for the Nationals. Sure, the Big Dunnkey put (some) butts in the seats, hit the big moonshots, and developed a great relationship with the Z-man but lets take a small look at some numbers. No Boswellian meta-analysis here, just two basic stats sabermetricians believe are important. (Granted these stats are slightly padded by hitting against the “Natinals”.)
Werth ’10 – OPS .921 WAR 5.2 (Wins Above Replacement player).
Dunn ’10 OPS – .892 WAR 3.9
On to the unmeasureables.
Jayson Werth is a baseball player. Look at the guy. Sure he might pass for the lead singer in a death metal band, but he’s the epitome of toughness in baseball. He’s the definition of a late bloomer, blue collar, consistently passed over, drafted by the Orioles, traded to the Blue Jays and never had a true shot at a starting job in the bigs until Shane Victorino went down in 2008.
Jayson Werth is a winner. Werth helped the Dodgers to the post-season in 2004 and we all know his playoff prowess as a member of the hated Phillies. Adam Dunn, god love him, was never on a winner. Chicken or the egg, lousy luck or something more? You be the judge.
Look, this isn’t a two-year deal for a flashy fan-favorite to help sell tickets. This is a bona-fide piece of the puzzle. Another move in the right direction. Werth embodies the new look Nats. Speed and defense, smart baseball, grit and determination.
With Desmond and Espinosa up the middle, Zimmerman at a corner and potentially Carlos Pena at the other ( a left-handed bat is now a must-have), these Nats are no laughing matter. Just all the other sports teams in this town are.Unless you like the Caps. But if you do you wouldn’t be reading this anyway.