Tag:Jayson Werth
Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:37 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 10:57 am

With Jackson, Nationals are trying to win now

The Nationals were already going to be one of the more interesting teams to watch this year.

Now it's time to wonder if they could actually win.

They think so, and it's why they committed money to sign Edwin Jackson to a one-year, $11 million contract, as CBSSports.com colleague Jon Heyman first reported Thursday afternoon.

Jackson joins a Nationals rotation that already featured young stars Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, and already added Gio Gonzalez this winter. The Nationals also have John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler, although they could now look to trade one of them this spring.

It's not Halladay-Lee-Hamels, but it is huge progress for a team that as recently as 2009 had the fourth highest rotation ERA in baseball.

But is it good enough, especially in a division that could be the most competitive in baseball?

The Phillies are still the National League's elite team, even though they haven't been to the World Series the last two years. The Braves are still very strong, even though they collapsed last September.

And the Marlins are still the team that dominated the first part of this offseason, adding Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell.

Still, Nationals people are quietly -- and sometimes not so quietly -- optimistic, to the point of believing that they could make a charge for the playoffs this year.

"If the two middle infielders (Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa) get better, and if the catcher (Wilson Ramos) gets better, we could have a heck of a team," one Nats person said to me this week.

And if Bryce Harper is ready?

Obviously, the Nationals think Harper could be a difference-maker, if he's ready for the big leagues at age 19. Even if he isn't completely ready, one Nationals person said, "He can help you win even while he's still learning."

If Harper does make it to the opening day roster, the Nationals would move Jayson Werth to center field, a position he played some in Philadelphia and also for 19 games last year in Washington. The long-term plan, then, would be to add a true center fielder next winter, move Werth to left field and move Mike Morse to first base (where Adam LaRoche will play this year).

The Nationals didn't get everything they wanted this winter. Their top pitching target was Buehrle, who chose the Marlins instead. They were in on the Prince Fielder bidding, although it appears now that they were behind the Tigers, Dodgers and perhaps another team.

But they beat out a crowded field to get Gonzalez from the A's, and now they have Jackson, a hard-throwing 28-year-old who has made an All-Star team and pitched in a World Series.

When Werth signed with the Nationals 14 months ago, there was a thought he was going from the best team in the league to a team with little chance to win. Now, just a year later, the Phillies may still be the best team, but the Nationals could well have a chance to win, too.

They certainly believe they could.

Another way to think of the Jackson signing: The Red Sox arguably needed a starting pitcher more than the Nationals did, but the Nationals were apparently willing to commit more money to get one. The Boston Globe reported that the Sox offered Jackson just $5-6 million on a one-year deal; his deal with the Nationals is for twice that.

The Red Sox rotation is very strong at the top, with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, but very questionable at the end, with converted reliever Daniel Bard, swing man Alfredo Aceves and the questionable Vicente Padilla, Carlos Silva and Aaron Cook as the other options.

Boston badly wanted to sign another starter, but Jackson is now out of the picture, and it appears that Roy Oswalt will hold out for a chance to go to one of his two favored teams, the Cardinals or the Rangers.

Posted on: May 19, 2011 2:19 pm

Werth: Utley means 'everything' to Phils

NEW YORK -- Some day very soon, Chase Utley will rejoin the Phillies lineup.

What will that mean?

"Everything," Jayson Werth said Thursday. "He's that type of player."

Werth and Utley were teammates for four years, before Werth left as a free agent to sign with the Nationals.

"He's a game-changer," Werth said. "They are not too many like him. He brings a mentality and work ethic to the workplace that's unparalleled from anyone I've ever played with."

Utley missed all of spring training and the first six week of the season with a knee injury, but he is six games into a rehabilitation assignment at Class A Clearwater.

He played nine innings Wednesday night, and the Phillies said he is scheduled to play nine innings again Thursday night. It doesn't appear that he'll be back for the start of this weekend's series against the Rangers, but at this point it would be a surprise if he doesn't make it back before the Phillies end their current homestand next week against the Reds.

Posted on: April 10, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 7:31 pm

3 to watch: The most favored opponent edition

Nine games in, the Phillies have the same record they had after nine games last year. They're 7-2, the best record in the National League.

But nine games in, the Phillies have scored 10 fewer runs than they did in the first nine games last year.

Does that mean they really do miss Jayson Werth and Chase Utley? Or does it just mean that they haven't played the Nationals yet?

They do miss Werth and Utley, or at least they should miss them eventually. But it is worth noting that the Phillies played six of their first nine games against Washington last year, and that they scored 50 runs in those six games.

The only reason we're bringing this up now is that Werth left the Phillies to sign with the Nationals last winter, and this week in Washington he'll play against his former team for the first time.

And if the Phillies were off to a slow start, there would no doubt be plenty of talk about how much they miss Jayson Werth.

Instead, Werth is hitting .200 for the Nationals, and the Phils are averaging 6.6 runs a game without him.

And that's without any games against Washington, the team the Phils pounded for 107 runs in 18 games last year.

The 107 runs were the most the Phillies scored against any opponent, but they weren't the most any team scored against any opponent last year.

The Twins scored 130 runs in their 18 games against the Royals (helped by a 19-1 game), and the Brewers scored 125 in 18 games against the Pirates (helped by back-to-back 20-0 and 17-3 wins).

And this week, while the Phillies play the Nationals, the Twins will play the Royals and the Brewers will play the Pirates.

Is there any doubt about the theme for this week's 3 to watch:

1. Ryan Braun is the National League's early home run leader, with four in the first 10 games of the season. And he hasn't even faced the Pirates yet. Braun hit six of his 25 home runs last year against Pittsburgh, the team he'll face in for the first time this year in Brewers at Pirates, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at PNC Park . Braun has homered off each of the scheduled Pirates starters this week, with one in 16 at-bats against Kevin Correia (Tuesday), one in 30 at-bats against Paul Maholm (Wednesday) and two in 16 at-bats against Jeff Karstens (Thursday).

2. The Twins are off to a slow start. Joe Mauer is off to a slow start. But the Twins haven't seen the Royals yet, and neither has Mauer. Last year, Mauer hit an incredible .516 against the Royals, with 17 RBI in 15 games. He gets his first chance of 2011 in Royals at Twins, Tuesday night (8:10 ET) at Target Field .

3. John Lannan is 29-30 with a 3.87 ERA in 86 career starts against everyone but the Phillies. John Lannan is 0-8 with a 6.09 ERA in 11 starts against the Phillies. He gets another chance -- or the Phillies get another chance -- in Phillies at Nationals, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Nationals Park . Bad news for him: He's matched up against Roy Halladay, who allowed one run in 23 innings in his three starts (all wins) against Washington last year.

Posted on: March 5, 2011 4:51 pm

Phils' Brown out with hamate fracture

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Domonic Brown's tough spring just got a whole lot worse.

The young Phillies outfielder, struggling at the plate in his attempt to take Jayson Werth's vacated job in right field, broke the hamate bone in his right hand on a swing in the Phillies' 4-3 spring loss to the Pirates Saturday.

General manager Ruben Amaro said that Brown will be reevaluated next week, but that surgery is likely. The recovery time for surgery is 3-6 weeks, which means Brown would miss most of the remainder of spring training and possibly the start of the regular season, as well.

Brown was hitless in 15 at-bats this spring before Saturday. He apparently broke the bone on his first swing of the day, but continued the at-bat and got his first hit. He came out of the game at that point, and was taken for X-rays.

"I'm sure he's disappointed," Amaro said. "But it's part of the game."

Ben Francisco, the other main contender for the right field job, had two more hits Saturday and is hitting .421 in seven games this spring.
Posted on: December 5, 2010 4:56 pm

Baseball's big week begins . . . now

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Baseball's Winter Meetings begin Monday.

Or did they start Sunday? Or maybe last week?

It's a little hard to tell, given how fast and furious (and sometimes confusing) the hot stove has been. In the last few days alone, the Yankees re-signed Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez.

Or maybe they didn't.

As the baseball world traveled to Walt Disney World for this week's meetings (and yes, they do officially begin on Monday), multiple reports said that the Red Sox hadn't been able to reach a contract agreement with Gonzalez before a 2 p.m. Sunday deadline, which very likely means the big trade with the Padres won't happen.

Gonzalez's future will be a topic for executives in the lobby at the Dolphin Hotel, but so will the future of Zack Greinke (who could be traded by the Royals), Jayson Werth (who MLB.com reported was close to signing with the Nationals), Cliff Lee (who probably won't sign anywhere this week) and Carl Crawford.

Despite all that has happened since the World Series ended, the potential exists for a lively week.

And it begins Monday. Or Sunday. Or something like that.
Posted on: July 27, 2010 2:07 pm

Dunn may well be dealt, but not for Garza

Teams that have spoken to the Nationals about Adam Dunn believe there's a good chance Dunn will be traded by the end of the week.

They also think that the price Nats GM Mike Rizzo is asking for Dunn right now is ridiculously high. Rizzo has been telling teams that to trade Dunn, he would need to get a young starting pitcher who is either major-league ready or close to it.

How ready? Well, according to a source familiar with the talks, last week the Nationals asked the Rays for Matt Garza.

Obviously, that wasn't happening, even before Garza threw the first no-hitter in Rays history on Monday night against the Tigers.

While there's no way for them to know for sure, rival teams believe that Rizzo plans to move Dunn, who is in the last year of his contract. Because of that, they believe that Rizzo's asking price will eventually drop, and that a deal will get done.

The Rays and White Sox have shown interest in Dunn, but a scout from another American League team said he thinks it would be a mistake for an AL team to trade for him. Dunn has said many times that he has no interest in being a designated hitter, and the scout believes that Dunn wouldn't be happy with an AL team.

The Giants, who have also checked on Dunn, would seem to be a better fit. But Giants GM Brian Sabean has been reluctant to move any of his best pitchers, and it's hard to believe he would include them in a move for a rental player like Dunn.


In other trade talk Tuesday, opposing teams increasingly believe that the Phillies want to move Jayson Werth. The asking price for Werth has been similar to what Washington wants for Dunn: a young starting pitcher. Werth will also be a free agent this winter, and while there's believed to be little chance he'll re-sign with the Phillies, one scout said: "He should never leave that ballpark." . . . Other teams still don't count out the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes, even though it's well-known that Oswalt would prefer to be dealt to St. Louis, Atlanta or Texas. The Cardinals have interest, but some people who know Astros owner Drayton McLane don't believe he would send Oswalt to the Cards -- or to the Rangers. And the Braves have not shown interest.
Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:44 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:43 pm

Phillies seek pitcher, focusing on Oswalt, Haren

It's July, so the Phillies are trying to trade for a starting pitcher.

Of course they are. They do every year.

The Phillies have dealt for a starter each of the last four years , and sources familiar with the organization said they're trying hard this week to make it five in a row.

The top target has been Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt, but it appears that Diamondbacks right-hander Dan Haren could be a strong fallback position. Last year, remember, the Phillies tried first for Roy Halladay, before switching to their second choice and acquiring Cliff Lee (before then trading Lee and acquiring Halladay over the winter).

While sources said that no deal was close, as of late Wednesday afternoon, it's entirely possible that a trade for one of the pitchers could be completed before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. While the Phillies have two openings in their rotation this weekend, after demoting Kyle Kendrick and losing Jamie Moyer to an injury, the team apparently doesn't feel pressure to get a trade completed in the next 2-3 days.

The Phillies expect to activate left-hander J.A. Happ from the disabled list to start Sunday's game against the Rockies, although in some scenarios that have been discussed, Happ would be part of the package the Phillies would give up in a trade.

Astros owner Drayton McLane told the team's website that "nothing's imminent" on the trade front, and suggested that any deal would wait until closer to the July 31 deadline.

A deal for Oswalt remains complicated, for all the reasons we explained last month and more. ESPN.com reported Wednesday that Oswalt would require a team to pick up his 2012 option as part of agreeing to any deal, and sources said the Phillies aren't inclined to do that. Oswalt may not really want to pitch in Philadelphia in any case, having told people in Houston that he would rather not go anywhere with a large and aggressive media contingent.

The Phillies' urgency to make a trade could also be affected by the way the team plays the rest of this week. The Phils lost five of their first six games after the All-Star break, falling a season-high seven games behind the Braves in the National League East. The Phils have also fallen four games behind in the wild-card race.

The standings provide part of the reason that the Phillies have focused on Oswalt and Haren, because both pitchers are signed past this season, so neither would be a pennant-race rental. In effect, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro would be doing what White Sox GM Ken Williams did last summer, when he traded for Jake Peavy and claimed Alex Rios on waivers with one eye on 2010.

By acquiring either Oswalt or Haren, the Phillies would accomplish two things: First, they'd have a somewhat better chance of making the playoffs this year, and a great playoff rotation of Halladay, Cole Hamels and either of the two targets if they did get there. Second, they'd basically complete their shopping for 2011, adding the pitcher to their rotation with the understanding that they'd make room financially by allowing Jayson Werth to leave as a free agent and replacing him with top prospect Domonic Brown.

The Phils have also discussed the possibility of trading Werth this month, but at this point a Werth trade seems less likely than a deal for a pitcher.

Posted on: July 1, 2010 5:12 pm

Utley's injury leaves door open in the East

The day Jimmy Rollins got hurt, the Phillies took it in stride.

"It's unfortunate, but the show goes on," Jayson Werth said. "We'll be fine."

The Phillies may well say the same things today, in the wake of the news that Chase Utley needs surgery on his right thumb, surgery that is expected to cost him the next six weeks or so.

There's a chance they will be fine. There's also a very real chance that this is one injury too many, and that the Phillies' two-year reign as National League champs is coming to an end.

There's a chance that this is the year it wasn't meant to be.

A few thoughts on what Utley's extended absence will mean:

1. At the very least, the door in the National League East is now wide open.

It's open for the Braves, who just got Jair Jurrjens back in their rotation and are looking more and more capable of giving Bobby Cox the send-off he deserves. It's open for the Mets, especially if they have the prospects and the willingness to part with them to get a Cliff Lee deal done.

It might even have been open for the Marlins, if they hadn't turned the last week into such a circus.

2. Despite all the injuries they've had so far, and there have been tons (Jimmy Rollins, J.A. Happ, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco, Carlos Ruiz), the Phillies actually have a better record after 76 games (41-35) than they did in 2009, and they're only one game behind their 2008 pace.

But a closer look at that 2010 record shows that Rollins and Utley have been in the lineup together just 16 times in 76 games (and Rollins left one of those games before he even got on the field). The Phillies are 12-4 in those 16 games, which means they're 29-31 without their regular middle infield (30-31 if you include the home opener, when Rollins was in the lineup but couldn't play).

3. Yes, the Phillies could trade for an infielder. They were looking at infielders this week, even before they knew for sure about Utley. As others have pointed out, they have the flexibility of getting a second baseman or a third baseman, because once Polanco returns from the disabled list he could play either position.

They could also trade for a starting pitcher.

But no infielder they get will give them anything close to what Utley does, and it may be that no starting pitcher they could get would make enough of a difference. It won't be a surprise if they make a move, but they could also decide this is a year to hold onto their best prospects.

4. If anything, all these injuries have helped justify general manager Ruben Amaro's decision to trade Cliff Lee last winter. Amaro was trying to extend the Phillies' window for winning beyond this year, and he said this spring that he would have considered it reckless to put all his eggs in one basket. Even if the Phillies had kept Lee, it's possible that the injuries would have kept them from winning this year.

As it is, even if the Phillies don't win this year, they still could go into next season as the favorite to win their division.

5. As a Phillies person admitted today, nobody is going to feel sorry for them. The Phillies have done tons of things right over the last few years, but their back-to-back World Series were also built on remarkable health.

Last year, six of the eight regular position players played 155 or more games -- and the other two played 107 and 134.

Rollins has already missed 56 games this year. By the time he returns, Utley will have missed at least 40 or so.
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