Philadelphia Phillies: Why They Look Smart for Letting Jayson Werth Walk

Shay GravesContributor IIIJuly 11, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Jayson Werth #28 of the Washington Nationals tosses his bat after walking against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park on July 7, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Cliff Lee or Jayson Werth? The two players were the topic of discussion the entire offseason for Phillies fans, and for good reason.

The Phillies seemingly chose Lee over Werth when they signed him to a $100 million, five-year deal. Many believed the Phillies were cash-strapped when they chose to let Werth sign with another club instead of giving him a big deal. 

Werth was expected to command a lot of attention on the free-agent market and that he did after he signed a $126 million, seven-year deal to become a member of the Washington Nationals franchise.

Fast-forward to the midpoint of this season and Ruben Amaro Jr. and the rest of the Phillies front office are looking quite brilliant. They decided to bring back one of the game's best pitchers in Lee and it has paid dividends as the Phillies pitching staff has been the cornerstone of a team that has the best record in baseball.

In his final three years with the Phillies, Werth averaged 29 home runs, 92 runs scored, 83 RBI and 17 stolen bases while hitting for an average of .279. Pretty good numbers for a guy that cost just $850,000 in his first year with the team. 

Werth's numbers are down as he has not lived up to the monster contract he received this offseason. This season he has has hit 10 home runs, driven in 31 RBI and stolen 11 bases with a batting average of .215, far from his career average of .266.

The Washington Nationals are fourth in the National League East division with a record of 46-46 and 11.5 games back of Phillies. It is safe to say he will not put up similar numbers this season unless he turns in a tremendous second half of the year. 

His agent, Scott Boras, has represented other clients who have not been worth their dollar amount in recent years, like Carlos Beltran, who signed a $119 million, seven-year deal with the New York Mets in 2005. He has only made two all-star games since joining the team. Another client is Barry Zito of the world champion San Francisco Giants who received $126 million for seven-year deal but has gone 42-58 since then. 

The Phillies have struggled offensively but by the looks of Werth's numbers you have to wonder if he would have been much of a benefit to the Phillies this year.

At 32 years old is Werth in the decline, or is he under the pressure of his enormous contract?

Only time will tell, but for now the Phillies look like they made the right decision.

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