Ladies and gentleman, I'd like you to meet Danny Knobler, senior writer for CBSSports.com. Knobler is an unqualified idiot. His published Hall of Fame ballot consisted solely of Roberto Alomar and Jack Morris. He left off everyone who he thought may have once touched steroids once in their career. Meanwhile, he lets in Alomar, who has been suspected of spreading HIV/AIDS to numerous women. Oops. The Jack Morris vote is fine by me if you're an EXTREMELY big-hall kind of guy, but it seems as if Knobler is not. The saddest thing is that his ballot wasn't even the stupidest thing that Knobler posted this month. That would be this little gem of an article, which I'll attempt to do an FJM-style takedown of. Since I don't have too much experience doing this type of thing, feel free to critique extensively.
If he's what we think he is, Werth may be worthless in D.C.
by Danny "Morris '11" Knobler
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- You're a last-place team, year after year. You're coming off a 93-loss season, which fits, because you've averaged 93 losses a year for every year in your current city.
I am? Okay. If this is the case, I am the Washington Nationals. An organization who holds the future of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann, and Drew Storen. So, a projected tremendous 1-2 punch in both the lineup and the rotation and a future shutdown closer with filthy stuff. Sure, I may have personally lost 93 games last year, but it's not like I'm never going to contend again ever.
You need to prove you're not a joke. You need to show that you're serious.
I thought I did that by drafting Strasburg and Harper to megadeals even though I could have gone the Pirates route and signed some guy like Brad Lincoln instead... no? Tell me what to do, Danny. Maybe I should find more guys who "pitch to the score" like Jack Morris. Actually, no, wait. Tell me what to do.
You need to find a big-time free agent willing to listen to you, and even then you need to radically overpay.
I choose you, Carl Crawford! Since I need to radically overpay, I will pay you $35 million per year for the next 10 years. I remember a couple of years ago we offered Mark Teixeira like $652 million over 23 years, but he wouldn't listen to us.
So, yeah, from that standpoint, the Nationals signing Jayson Werth makes perfect sense. Even the contract numbers -- seven years, $126 million -- makes sense.
I thought you said I had to radically overpay... if the numbers make sense how am I overpaying? Enlighten me: I don't even know the error of my own ways!
As long as Werth isn't what we all think he is.
I think he's among the most talented right-handed hitters in the National League, and he's got an OPS+ of 131 over the past 4 years. He plays pretty good defense, and he's put up an average of 5 WAR the past three years. He should be a decent bet to put up close to that next year, and, with a normal decline rate, he should be a decent hitter for years to come because of his plus plate discipline and power, which should survive even if his batting average drops off a little, right? He's also the second best player on his own team *looks at third base*.
As long as he doesn't need to be in the middle of a lineup as talented as the one he's leaving behind in Philadelphia, and as long as he's capable of being as good as he was with the Phillies when he's the guy everyone's watching.
Why does everyone insist that Philly's lineup is so good? Put it this way - Jayson Werth WAS the best hitter on the Phillies, and he WON'T be on the Nationals. Next year, the Phillies lineup will be old and decrepit, and bereft of their best hitter. His name is Jayson Werth, and he will be on the Nationals. Also, it is a proven fact that the player everybody will be watching on the Washington Nationals will be playing for a single-A team. That would be Bryce Harper. The other guy people are going to watch is Stephen Strasburg. Werth is a proven commodity. No one gives a flying crap about Jayson Werth compared to Bryce Harper, because when Harper's career is done he will have amassed 916 homers, 3024 rib-eye steaks, 1633 stolen bases, 492 pitching wins, and 6300 strikeouts. Stephen Strasburg will still pitch well enough to win 11 Cy Youngs.
Agent Scott Boras says this is like the Tigers signing Pudge Rodriguez seven years ago -- when they were coming off 119 losses, and he was coming off a World Series win -- or Magglio Ordonez six years ago. Nice comparison, especially since the Tigers ended up in the 2006 World Series in large part because of those two deals.
So an agent makes a reference to a similar, successful deal in order to get the best deal possible for his client? OH THE BLASPHEMY. AGENTS SHOULD WORK WITH ONLY 3 RUBBER BANDS AND A SCIENTIFIC CALCULATOR.
Rizzo: So, Scott, I want to pay Jayson Werth league minimum for the next 10 years with an team opt-out clause after any year.
Scott: I have a mystery bidder offering me $500k per year for 8 years, with no opt-out contract.
Rizzo: Violation! No mystery bidders! And is that a graphing calculator?!?!?!?
But Rodriguez was the guy everyone watched in both Texas and Florida. He was a No. 3 hitter. Ordonez hit cleanup year after year with the White Sox.
Sure, Pudge batted third for the 2003 Marlins. In 2002, he accrued a TOTAL of 4 at-bats in the 3-hole. Meanwhile, he hit mostly 2nd, 5th, and 6th. Some guy named Alex Rodriguez hit 3rd on that team. I'm pretty sure that's the guy who people were watching (big free-agent contract, one of the best players in baseball, better than Ivan Rodriguez). And sure, Ordonez hit cleanup most years. That's because his team was bereft of a "known-RBI" producer like Ryan Howard, who is actually a worse hitter than Jayson Werth.
Jayson Werth has hit cleanup seven times in his eight-year career.
There was another guy who almost never hit cleanup most years. His name was Babe Ruth. Also, where a player bats has no effect on how he produces. Unless you're referring to something else entirely...
"He's ready for the challenge of being the guy in the lineup," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.
He'd better be.
Not only was he the guy in the lineup last year, he also has Ryan Wallace Zimmerman on his team, who is an even better player than him.
There needs to be a new stat that runs from 0-1 called "GLORG" (Guy in Lineup over Replacement Guy). Role-players like David Eckstein have extremely low GLORG. There have been 4 incidents of 1 (a perfect) GLORG in history - Honus Wagner in 1908, Wally Berger in 1935 (made even more impressive by the fact that Babe Ruth was on his team), Barry Bonds in 2003, and Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. I guarantee you Jayson Werth is not going to have a 1 GLORG next year, because Ryan Zimmerman is on his team.
The word on Werth has always been the opposite, that he's a greatly talented player who can be a big contributor on a winning team, as he was the last four years with the Phillies. And that he's best on a team where he's not the focal point.
He isn't the focal point on this team either, you incredible dummy. Also, he was the best player on the Phillies (position player, that is) last year, and everyone thought they were going to the World Series. Also, a greatly talented player who can be a big contributor on a winning team is an important kind of player to have if you're going to be on a winning team. One guy who filled that role was Albert Pujols when the Cardinals won the World Series.
That doesn't make him bad. But if it's true, it makes him a bad fit for the Nationals right now.
"I don't think he has to be the centerpiece," manager Jim Riggleman insisted Sunday. "We've got Ryan Zimmerman. We're going to get Stephen Strasburg back eventually. We've got a few centerpieces."
OH LOOK A VOICE OF REASON. What do you say to this, you Jack Morris-lovin', Bert Blyleven-hatin' SOB?
But they've only got one guy who signed for $126 million.
Hmm. The two MVPs of baseball last year were Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto. Neither are signed to $126 million contracts. This leads me to believe that getting signed to a megacontract sadly does not increase your GLORP. Just ask Barry Zito, whose GRORP (the pitching equivalent of GLORP) stands at an incredibly low -0.42 because of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Last year, the major league leaders in GLORP and GRORP were Adrian Gonzalez and CC Sabathia. How will Adrian Gonzalez's perfomance be affected by a decrease in GLORP? Who cares!
It's a bigger total contract than the one his old teammate Ryan Howard signed with the Phillies last summer (although less per year). It's a bigger contract than the one Matt Holliday signed last winter with the Cardinals.
Howard is incredibly overpaid. The Cardinals got a good deal from Holliday, I think. And wait, what was your argument again? That Werth was overpaid or his projected GLORP would be too low?
How does bringing up Barry Zito in an article about a 31-year-old outfielder make any sense at all? His contract has been a bust, anyone with reasonable baseball sense and knowledge of FIP could tell you it was going to be a bust. The man threw an 85 mile an hour fastball and walked a ton of batters, for god's sake.
That doesn't mean it will be as bad a contract as those two have proven to be. It does mean Werth will have every eye on him from the first day of spring training through next year.
No one gives a crap about Vernon Wells. Barry Zito will be lucky to land the #5 job next year, and no one cares, because his team won the World Series last year. National coverage of Wells did not increase significantly because he played poorly. This is crazy talk. I think the player who people will be concentrating on is Bryce Harper, who is only the most hyped prospect in baseball.
If he homers on opening day, that's the story. If he strikes out three times on opening day, that's the story.
The homering, sure. If he strikes out 3 times but Mike Morse cracks a walkoff 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th, I'm pretty sure that's the story. If he strikes out 3 times in a 4-2 Nationals loss where he comes up with the bases loaded every time and fails to drive in any runs, that's the story. But I've heard that same story before with players making significantly less than Werth does.
And if he goes two months with a .239 batting average and just 19 home runs in 54 games, as he did in one stretch last year with the Phillies, then that's a huge story.
Now it gets juicy... Werth, with JUST 19 home runs in 54 games, would hit exactly 57 in a normal 162-game season. I'd take a .240 average if it game with that many homers. Also, I'm pretty sure this never happened. I just took a look at his splits on baseball reference and his lowest batting average in any single month was .271 in May. In 2009, it was .248 in May. Maybe he's referring to some random stretch- but DAMN, 19 homers in 54 games? Combined with Werth's on-base ability, I'm pretty sure that the Nats would be happy with that sort of production, seeing as it would be sort of like Adam Dunn but with better defense and even better power production.
The Nationals had to take a chance. Had to make a splash. Had to find a guy willing to even entertain their pitch, willing to be the first big free-agent signing, willing to be their potential Pudge, their may-be-Magglio.
Am I the only one who realizes that the Pudge signing was an awful deal? He had one good season then put up like 2 WAR a year.
They needed to change the story from all the losing, and they really wanted to change the story this week after their fan base got far too upset that Adam Dunn left to sign with the White Sox.
Their story hasn't been losing, it has been Strasburg and Harper. What planet do you live on? You have to be on Mars to not realize that Strasburg and Harper are literally the only things that people care about on the Nationals. Their fans don't expect them to win this year, with Werth, and they shouldn't, their pitching staff is terrible.
The Nats had to make a splash, but it's hard to get away from the thought this was the wrong splash -- the wrong guy for the Nat's particular situation.
Who was the right guy, Carl Crawford? He wants to win, so he went to Boston. Also, the two have nearly identical combined WAR over the past 3 seasons, and Crawford would likely need even more money to play for the Nationals. Lee would have been nice, but he obviously wants to pitch for a contender. By getting Werth, they're getting a bat that can help them as they attempt to contend in 2012. The free agent market is going to be terrible next year, and Werth was the only impact BAT available.
It's hard to get away from the idea that this is the wrong deal for Werth, even if it was the most money he was going to get.
True that. I'm getting sick of your one-sentence paragraphs. I didn't even have to chop them up... these are literally the paragraph lengths he uses.
Sure, Soriano's contract looks bad now, but he put up 7 WAR when the Cubs were making their run in 2007. In three of the last four seasons, he's put up at least 3 WAR. Also, Pudge produced MUCH less value than Soriano did (so far). His contract wasn't as big, but still. The man was not that good a baseball player, yet you seem to have the fondest memories of him being the greatest Detroit player in the world.
Would Werth have been better off with the Red Sox, where he may have fit in just the way he did with the Phillies? We'll never know.
Alright. You're playing what-ifs. Remind me what your argument is again?
What we do know is what we already strongly suspected, which is that this is a great time to be a free agent. Plenty of teams have money to spend, and there aren't enough premier free agents to spend it on.
Yeah, and teams counteract that. As the price of each win gets higher, GMs will spend more per win. Jayson Werth is an example of this. Again... please remind me?
The Werth contract is stunningly huge. An American League general manager nearly fell over when I told him the terms.
But the money isn't really the problem here. It was going to take stunning money if the last-place Nationals were going to sign a top free agent.
Alright, your points are
1) Jayson Werth is making a lot of money - 2) The money is not the problem - 3) Jayson Werth is a top free agent and that takes a lot of money
The issue isn't $126 million. The issue is Jayson Werth.
4) The money is not the problem - 5) Jayson Werth is a problem
Read that again. Jayson Werth is a problem. Having Jayson Werth, a top tier free agent, who makes a lot of money, is a problem. The Nationals have the money to spend. They chose to spend it instead of letting it go to waste for 4-5 wins the next few years. Again, Jayson Werth is probably being slightly overpaid. So just flat out state that instead of saying that he's a Craig Counsell/Alex Cora-type role player.
Is he really the right guy to turn around a franchise?
Nah, but Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, and Bryce Harper can. Y'know, three guys who play for this freakin' franchise. Ryan Zimmerman, who has extensive experience being the best player on his own team.
Only if he's not what we all think he is.
Hold on. I thought I was the Washington Nationals. And I think he's a pretty damn good player.