That's what came to mind when I read about the Washington Nationals signing OF Jayson Werth to a 7-year $126 million deal. Jayson Werth? Really?
That got me thinking. If Werth can command that kind of money, what is Carl Crawford worth? In the simplest terms, he is worth more. Let's take a look at a few ways Jayson Werth made sure he is going to get it.
A couple of years in age can make a huge difference in the length of a free-agent contract.
Werth is over two years older than Crawford and inked a seven-year deal. Conventional wisdom would say Crawford can then look for an eight or even possibly nine year deal. That may sound crazy, but eight years is highly probable.
Carl Crawford 1 Jayson Werth 0
There was a time when teams used the running game as an integral part of their offense. Today base stealers are in high demand.
Crawford has been one of the premier base stealers in all of MLB over the course of his career. This dimension of his game can affect the momentum of an inning or even the course of an entire game.
During his nine-year career, Crawford has stolen more than 45 bases seven times.
While Werth isn't a slug, he can't compare to Crawford in this area.
Carl Crawford 2 Jayson Werth 0
There is no way around it. Carl Crawford is a REALLY good hitter.
He has hit .301, .305, .315, .273, .305 and .307 over the past six years with a career mark of .296. That seems to be pretty darn good. What do you think?
Teams are much more willing to dish out the big money when they see that kind of consistency. I can't say that I blame them.
While Jayson Werth is no slouch at the plate, he is not even close to Crawford.
Carl Crawford 3 Jayson Werth 0
The emphasis in Major League Baseball has been on offense and more specifically power for some time. Outfielders that can run balls down to the lines, in the gaps and back to the fence are at a premium these days.
While Jayson Werth is a decent outfielder, Carl Crawford is among the elite. All you need to do to confirm it is to look in his trophy case. There's a shiny Gold Glove in there from the 2010 season.
Carl Crawford 4 Jayson Werth 0
Earlier on I mentioned Carl Crawford's base stealing prowess. While that is a good measure of his speed, so is going from first to third on a single or turning a double into a triple.
Many players have to go station to station to score a run. Crawford takes that extra base on a regular basis. There are a lot of more ways that you can score from third base rather than from second base.
Over the past seven years, Crawford has led the American League in triples four times averaging just under 13 triples per season. Conversely Werth has 11 total triples in the last five seasons combined.
Carl Crawford 5 Jayson Werth 0
Carl Crawford bats left-handed. That will never change. Left-handed hitters inherently have a higher value than righties. Jayson Werth bats right-handed. That won't change either.
Carl Crawford 6 Jayson Werth 0
Carl Crawford does the little things to help his team win. I have already mentioned his defense and his base running. Next on the list is the lost art of bunting.
Bunting can both win and lose a game for you. All one needs as an example is the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers. Not only couldn't the pitchers bunt, but neither could anyone else. To me it's a lack of focus, preparation and commitment. Crawford lacks none of those qualities.
Bunting can also get the infielders moving around creating holes in the defense. If the defense has to respect your ability to bunt, your job as a hitter becomes easier.
Carl Crawford 7 Jayson Werth 0
When you compare Carl Crawford to Jayson Werth from top to bottom, there is only one conclusion you can possibly come to. Crawford is clearly the better player.
In my crude scoring method, Crawford garnered a shutout over Werth 7-0
Crawford is younger, an accomplished base stealer, hits for a high average, plays very good defense, is an outstanding base runner, hits left-handed and can bunt. Werth is good, but Crawford is significantly better.
Jayson Werth signing with Washington had an unintended consequence for Carl Crawford. There was now increased competition for his services.
By all accounts the Red Sox had targeted Werth as their guy. When he signed with the Nationals, the Red Sox still needed to plug that outfield hole. Their interest shifted to Crawford. The Yankees and Angels had already targeted Crawford and now the Red Sox made three.
It had been reported that the Red Sox had pulled back on their interest in Crawford. That does not seem to be case, however.
Three teams with money to spend now will be wrangling for Crawford's services. Three bidders and only one coveted player usually equals BIG contract numbers. Crawford and his agents will ask for those numbers and rightly so. The market bears it out.
Jayson Werth signed early and he signed BIG. The reaction around the league was generally disbelief. Werth is a good player. But he is not anywhere close to being worth that contract. But as it is, that established the going rate.
Crawford has earned a big payday, but Werth raised the stakes significantly. Crawford should ask for the moon, and if he does he's likely to get it. My prediction is 8 years at $165 million. It's completely obscene, and it's likely Crawford will be sending a nice thank you card to Jayson Werth this holiday season.