Werth the Money?

Before you take the title too condescendingly, let it be known how refreshing it is to actually see the Artists Formerly Known As the Expos finally taking consistent steps to shell out enough cash to not only keep their own talent, but bring in valuable free agents from across the league. From Adam Dunn, to actually signing Strasburg (something many pundits were quite skeptical about once upon a time), now giving Jayson Werth a massive 7-year, 126 million deal.And it’s not to say Werth isn’t a fine player, even if a relatively late bloomer in his major league career. At 31, Werth has hit at least 24 homers in 3 straight season, including a career high 36 in 2009, while swiping 20 bags in two of those campaigns. A former first round pick by the Baltimore Orioles, Werth struggled earlier in his major league efforts as a result of injuries, attempting to play through the pain and ultimately missing time, the entire 2006 season in fact. He quickly rose to prominence, however, after signing a 1-year contract with the Phillies, moving into a starting role within the first few months of the season, winning a World Series title by year’s end. In 2009, Werth followed up his breakout campaign with a truly career year earning his first All-Star nod. Though 2010 was not as prolific, the fact that a free agent of Werth’s caliber is willing to come to the Nationals is certainly a sign the club is moving in the right direction.Still, for the same 7-years and just 15 million more, wouldn’t most fans agree Carl Crawford (who’s two years younger) is a much better acquisition. A 4-time All-Star/stolen base champion, Gold Glover, SilverSlugger, what-have you, Crawford represents the struggle still facing the Nationals organization. Though moving in the right direction, they still must overpay to an extent to get desirable players to take a chance on the organization. The Nats still lack the name of, say, the Red Sox (Crawford’s landing spot) to lure the biggest names with anything other than a paycheck. We may not be where we want to be yet, but have hope; things are getting better.

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