It wasn't what Jered Weaver did, ink a five-year, $85 million extension with the Angels Tuesday.
It wasn't even what he said.
"If $85 (million) is not enough to take care of my family and other generations of families then I'm pretty stupid," he told ESPN L.A. "But how much money do you really need in life?"
It was what he didn't do. What he refused to:
Submit to Scott Boras.
Save for position and geography, that's the fundamental difference between Weaver and now-National Jayson Werth, and it resonates in the quote. That Weaver dictated how he decided. That he weighed money and opportunity and their inherent risk-reward, and made the No. 1 move for his "Star Player."
The security factored in, for sure. A likely $30-50 million more waiting in 2012 free agency or not: How the Angels (two games behind the AL West-leading Rangers) will lean on him down the stretch, Weaver needed to cash in while his elbow's stock was high. To cash in while he could.
But Weaver recognized that he was the one putting pen to paper. That the ultimate call, for both dollars and destination, was his.
Do you think Scott Boras manipulated (or muscled) Jayson Werth's decision to sign with Washington?
That's not the take-away from Werth's southbound stumble. Maybe the question wasn't asked—and shame on whomever didn't—but Werth never addressed the white (or green) elephant. That his contract was outrageous, at least for a consensus complementary piece like himself. That it was prohibitive, assuming the NL East wouldn't topple without support and a stash to pay them with.
That it was what Boras wanted, first and most and last.
That Werth wouldn't captain his own choice. Or that he couldn't.
Whichever it was, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter whether a hypothetical Werth-Boras shouting match over possibly staying with the Phillies matched Tyson-Douglas. Whether Werth would've flirted with a hometown discount, even if it meant dipping in Boras' pocket. Whether he valued being part of something over being the beginning, end and in-between of nothing.
Fact is, he didn't. And won't. He can't.
Who else will beckon? What other team will pony a $126 million temptation? Granted, Werth's 2010 27-home run, 85-RBI season was somewhat underwhelming, at least to the extent that the 15th-biggest deal in baseball history became overpaying. But even that was head and shoulders and everything else above his output now.
All things considered: Between the deal's seven-year shackles and how quickly Werth's .230 BA/.330 OBP/.715 OPS season is hiking his value on this list, something's telling me he's not looping back to last winter's crossroads.
Does it matter?
Not if you're a Phillies fan, content beyond belief with Hunter Pence's brand-name production for a Foreman Mills price—pennies of his $6.9 million 2011 salary, and prospects Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singelton—something that never comes if Worth doesn't go.
Not if you're a free market economist and salary cap supporter, cozy to the principles that Werth's signing exemplify: teams' right to waste and players' right to waste away for it.
Not unless you dabble in behavioral psychology (in which case I really need to know if you're psychoanalyzing me).
But Weaver distinguished himself as the first of his kind. Never before had a Boras client clashed with his pursuit of haughtiness. Never before was it even thought an option.
Mark Teixeira famously fired Boras. But only after he landed in New York, and a mega contract.
In other words: Never before had defiance come before.
Do you think that deep down, Jayson Werth wanted to stay in Philadelphia?
Not before Weaver.
Now, if you're mulling Werth's motives, this clears the picture.
Definitely money-drunk—and for that coin, who wouldn't be?—Werth was figured to only be buzzed. Now, you know he was as blacked out as Nationals' local broadcasts.
Likely piqued by Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen and Bryce Harper, Werth said that the Lerner family sold him.
"I think in a short time, we're going to surprise a lot of people," Werth told the Washington Post December 6. "...We're going to go after some guys that are going to make a difference, that are going to put this team where it needs to be."
Now, you know he sold himself.
Now, with Weaver's wrinkle, comes closure.
Judgment aside, Phillies fans finally know how to class him: in with the rest of them. In with Adrian Beltre, who packed up for pennies more in Seattle over staying with the Dodgers in 2004. In with Johnny Damon, who followed Green Lantern's light from Kansas City to Tampa Bay, a six-team trek that always put cash over community.
Judgment included, Phillies fans finally know how to remember him. Is this the stuff of Scott Rolen's and Curt Schilling's dishonorable discharge, stemming from contractual quibbling? Or does the bluest-collared town identify with a guy getting his when, and because, he can?
Either way, that's no longer about what Werth controlled, his performance and popularity. Maybe that's the lesson—not for the fans, but for their favorites:
Know what you're giving up when you give in to Boras.