Have you ever owned a jack-in-the-box? If so, do you remember that feeling of anticipation that sunk deep within your stomach right before the lid popped open? No matter what you did to prepare yourself, nothing could stop the overflow of surprise when that lid popped open, right?
Well, the same feeling has run through the Philadelphia faithful after news of Jayson Werth declining arbitration Tuesday night. We can all say it was expected, but it does nothing to lessen the blow.
And while a few diehard fans will fall deep into the gasping grip of denial and comment, ‘just because he declined arbitration doesn’t mean he still can’t sign,” the rest of us are beginning to move on, and accept the end of a truly great run from a truly great player.
But there are two significant questions that still linger: Could Jayson Werth be headed to Boston, and is Domonic Brown even ready?
Across the Boston University Bridge is another fanbase beginning to wonder if perhaps Mr. Werth could be the offensive addition they’ve been so desperately craving. The rumor is that Boston is, in fact, very interested.
The Red Sox have the second-largest payroll in baseball—we all know who is the current champion in that arena—but they also have significant room to move. Outfielders Bill Hall and Ryan Kalish have been serviceable, but not the Type A power bats the Red Sox need.
In addition to all of this, there is news that eight different teams have shown interest in Hall, and Kalish could be used as possible trade bait in the near future. This could open a clear path for the Red Sox to roll out the red carpet for Werth.
But the question always comes down to money doesn’t it?
The Red Sox could toy with the notion of extending a five-year offer worth a cool $100 million dollars, but that is left to be seen. The Red Sox also know that there aren’t many teams that are willing to compete in such a high-priced arena for one guy—namely Jayson Werth.
The second question is whether or not prospect Domonic Brown is ready to fill some pretty big shoes.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that despite being sent to the Dominican Winter League, Brown has yet to appear in a single game.
And nobody believes Philadelphia sent Brown down there to gauge how comfortable the benches are.
The hot-hitting Phillies’ prospect has been a monster in minor league ball since 2007, accumulating a .296/.373/.464 line with 48 home runs, 232 RBI and 89 stolen bases, so the Phillies are eager to get Brown some at-bats, and back in shape.
But that’s just it, the Winter League isn’t very long. After the league finishes up, there is a month-long layover in holiday happy-land before the advent of Spring Training.
The biggest question is whether or not that will be enough time to get him in shape.
Not being in shape leaves a player vulnerable to injury in Spring Training, and the Phillies can’t afford such a situation with Brown, especially considering the sizable shoes he has to fill in such a short time.
So here we are, the latest scribed chapter in an ever-growing book of questions.
Either way, the coming months are going to be quite arduous for Phillies’ fans to say the least, or as George Herbert put it: “Every mile is two in winter.”
But in the same vein, winter dies into spring, and with such a death rises a new life (season) filled with promise, hope and new beginnings.
Ah, such is the way of the diamond.