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The Nationals gave Jayson Werth a seven-year deal worth $126 million, which comes out to roughly $18 million a year. All I have to say is wow.
This team is paying Werth the contract of a superstar for a player who is only just above average. He reaped the benefits of playing with the Phillies' lineup when they were in their prime and got a lot of RBI and scored a lot of runs simply because of the offense he played in.
Werth is a solid player, but he is not the corner piece of a team. He does improve the offense, and an offense with Werth, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman in the middle is nothing to laugh at. Put speedsters like Ian Desmond and Nyjer Morgan at the top of the lineup, and they have a top five that can compete in the National League. Even though they can compete, they really overpaid for Werth and lost a lot of their investment opportunities in younger players or other players they can build the team around with the $18 million a year they are giving up.
The money they gave to Werth would have been much better spent on some quality starting pitching. When your opening day starter is Livan Hernandez, your team needs help in the starting rotation. They will have Stephen Strasburg back next year, and when you put him with Jordan Zimmerman they have a great one two punch, but after those two there is a big drop off.
Hopefully Luis Atilano can develop further, and maybe they can pick up some more starters and groom then into quality pitchers for the future. With all this said and done, the Nats are more looking forward to the return of Strasburg than they are to any games this year. They will use this season to gain experience and retool for the return of their best player in 2012.