Was It Werth It? Jayson Werth's Deal Is Just the Start of Big-Time Contracts

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IDecember 6, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 23:  Jayson Werth #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the San Francisco Giants in Game Six of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford would love to give you a hug or at least send you a thank you card because what you did for his new contract isn't something he can put into words.

Although, the stupidity of the Washington Nationals should be worth something to Crawford as well because if it wasn't for the team in the nation's capital, Crawford wouldn't be looking at nearly the amount of money that he'll command now.

We found out over the weekend that the Nationals had signed the former Philadelphia Phillies' outfielder to a seven-year $126 million contract. The most surprising thing about this deal was the fact that it was kept almost silent. With the social media available these days, that's almost impossible and unheard of.

Before you look at Werth's deal as the standard bearer, there's a rumor floating around that the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez have agreed to an eight-year $161 million extension. But, there's another story out that says the extension for Gonzalez will be seven-years for $154 million.

Money has gone crazy and baseball's winter meetings are less than a few hours old. Werth gets $126 million, Gonzalez looks to be getting $161 million and Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford are still out there and available.

We are still yet to see two of the biggest contracts get signed.

But let's stick with the deal the Nationals signed. I honestly didn't think the Nationals would do something like this. Why sign a guy for that many years who is 1) over 30 and 2) end the contract two years shy of his 40th birthday?

Didn't they learn anything from the Chicago Cubs and outfielder Alfonso Soriano? Anything at all?

Let's not forget, this is the same Washington Nationals team that rushed pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg up to the big leagues so the fans would have something to look forward to.

Sure, he shined in his debut, and sure, there were plenty of sportswriters who were a blubbering mess when they talked about him, almost in the same way as teenage girls do when they talk about teeny bopper Justin Bieber.

It's all well and good if you want to show off a little and boast that you have a guy who can throw 103 miles per hour consistently. I'm happy for the Nationals that they have a kid like that.

However, when it was time to shut him down, the Nationals didn't want to do it. They were selling tickets and making money. He was their cash cow, no way were they going to do the right thing and shut him down for the season.

They were playing for nothing. Not a playoff spot, not a wild card spot, nothing. Yet they continued to run him out every fifth day until, surprise, Strasburg succumbed to the work load and had to undergo Tommy John surgery which will force him to miss the entire 2011 season.

Congratulations Washington. Was that worth it?

Let's talk about former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carl Crawford who might get the biggest offseason contract of any player out there.

The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and a few other teams have big-time interest in this young outfielder, and for good reason. In 2009, he hit .307 with 19 home runs and 90 runs batted in. Not only that, but he's a solid defender for any team looking to fill a hole in their outfield.

So if Werth gets $126 million, Gonzalez is apparently at $154 million, could Crawford be looking at a contract worth upwards of $170-$180 million or more? The other question is, who is really ready to pony up that kind of dough and for how many years?

Last, but certainly not least, is the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.

The top two teams that are involved in trying to lure Lee to their team are the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers. There are going to be other teams in the running, but none that can match the two that I previously mentioned.

For the Rangers, it's the draw of enjoying the guys he played with and has already been on the record of saying that he would love to be a part of the team next year. Not only that, but he's within driving distance of his home in Arkansas.

As far as the Yankees go, it's all about money and championships with them. If he signs with New York, it will be because they offered him either more years or more money per year than the Rangers.

If you're either team, how much is this left hander, with plenty of playoff experience, worth to you?

We're only through one day of the winter meetings with more moving pieces still to come over this week. I'm curious to see what kind of stupid money is thrown around this week, or will we not see two of the bigger contracts signed until after the holidays?

I won't take anything away from Jayson Werth, I'll just say congratulations and I hope you can live up to what they expect from you for the next seven years.

If not, most people will forget all about it. At least those outside of Washington D.C. Besides, there's more pressure on a young teammate of yours than there is on you. 

I doubt very highly that Nationals' general manager Mike Rizzo came to the winter meetings hoping to be mocked. But, he accomplished just that. Congratulations to you as well Mr. Rizzo.

The winter meetings are something that all of us baseball fans look forward to. We want to know when our teams are making a move and who they are interested in.

But, even the biggest Nationals fan said the following after hearing of the Jayson Werth deal. "Wait, we gave how much to who?!"

So now that Werth is a member of the $100-million club, I may as well send members-only jackets to Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. It's just a matter of time before they join it as well.

Salary cap anyone?