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Wrapping up the meetings

Dec 9, 2010, 6:01 PM EDT

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — And so the Winter Meetings have come to a close after four days spent tracking down lots of rumors but only three actual roster alterations: Jayson Werth and the two Rule 5 picks.

Make no mistake, though: The Nationals were very much front-and-center at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, beginning with the Werth blockbuster and continuing with rumors about the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, the search for a first baseman, the trade market for Zack Greinke and the trade market for Josh Willingham.

This was the fifth Winter Meetings I've covered as a Nats beat writer (missed the 2008 and 2009 events) and this was by far the most involved and visible this franchise has been at one of these things. The only other move that remotely compared to this was the Alfonso Soriano trade, which came late one night at the 2005 meetings in Dallas. And that was merely one surprising trade in an otherwise uneventful week for the Nationals, who remained well on the periphery everywhere else.

Perhaps the most significant thing the Nats did here this week wasn't simply signing Werth. As big as that was, the more significant development to me was that this franchise stepped up and made it clear it intends to compete with all the big boys on just about everyRead more »

  1. N. Cognito - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    I told you nothing happens at these things.

  2. Section 223 - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Serious, but not reckless. Seven years on a 32 year old pitcher would be reckless. Signing LaRoche as a FA also lets Rizzo make trade moves easier. I suspect he and the rest of the front office laid the groundwork for some deals. Well done, and thank you to the owners for letting your general managert get after it.

  3. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    If the Nats can't outbid the Orioles for Adam LaRoche, then the Lerners really are cheap.Also, don't be surprised if both Brandon Webb and Chien-Ming Wang show up at spring training to compete for a spot in the rotation.

  4. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    I'm sorry we weren't more PROACTIVE regarding the needs of our bench. Man, when I read Willie Harris' name circulating once again it made we to pound Tums. Good guy. Joke of a PH by now.

  5. David Lint - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    Mark, I disagree with you saying the Nats have taken a step forward if nothing else happens this offseason.Basically, all they did was swap contracts in Werth for Dunn.That's not progress… that's inertia.As of now, all the Nationals have accomplished with their 'big' signing is a shell game of sorts with roster money.We're still below the 2010 payroll, and taking Dunn + Guzman off the books opens up 20 million dollars, 18 of which went to Werth.Without adding another piece to the puzzle, not only have the Nationals not added to the team, depending on how Werth/Dunn do in 2011, it could actually be a detriment.I get that Werth was all the glitz and glam… but without additional substance… this offseason is shaping up to be all sizzle and no steak.

  6. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    @1:20 PM edit: "…it made *me want* to…" Error = me ;)

  7. JD - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    David Lint, They mad a 7 year @ 18 mil per commitment to Werth; that's not swapping Dunn's contract for Werth, Also; before we compare payrolls between 10 and 11 let's let the off season play out. Last week the 'Cheap Lerners' crowd was all over this board I can see that they are itching to get back in; only problem is that I'm not sure you all want to look like fools again.

  8. David Lint - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    JD, who the hell are you talking about?Certainly not me. I have no opinion on whether or not the Lerners are Cheap.Just pointing out, Werth only covers Dunn and Guzman's contract… without filling a hole at 1B, SP, or the bench.

  9. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Making a serious effort and actually landing FA's are two different things. I disagree that just being in the conversation with the big boys is improvement. It's all about results. If Rizzo does not fill the needs of 1b and #1-2 starting pitcher from outside the organization before spring training than hot stove 2010-11 has been a failure.But he still has time, even if the players are dwindling. I'll withhold judgement until spring training.

  10. JD - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    David Lint, You are right; Werth can only play one position but then again the off season is still young; the reason I called you out is that you compared dollars insinuating that the payroll budget has not increased; let's revisit when the budget is complete and set.

  11. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    I think we will be in position to win as many as 68 games next year!

  12. Wally - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    I agree with Mark's contention. Not only did we sign a big ticket, sought after FA, which has never happened before (Dunn's 2 year deal doesn't fit the profile, since he was looking like a player without a team), but just judging by public media reports, other teams developed a new awareness of the Nats as a potential thorn to their offseason plans. I like our guys being the crazy ones. But no, the team is not appreciably different yet from a pythagorean won/loss standpoint, but it is a good start. I am content to wait out the rest of the offseason.Rizzo may want to just go with his SPs as is, or add a few low cost fliers. The cost looks ridiculously prohibitive. I wanted Lee bad, but even I drop out at these reported numbers (I am just assuming 7/$160m). I would love to see a new quality 1B, 2B and CF (at least two of the three). If they give up Hammer for one of those spots, then add a LF, too. Ideally for me, if Morse and Bernie are bench players, that means we have a strong lineup (and a strong bench).

  13. N. Cognito - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    The incessant whiners have taken their que and are beginning to attack in force.

  14. Bowdenball - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    JD-David Lint was taking issue with Mark's conclusion that the offseason would be a success even if we did nothing else. So letting the offseason play out and seeing where we are then doesn't play into his conclusion. By the way, his conclusion is 100% correct in my opinion: If this is all we do, then this offseason is a failure. Payroll hasn't increased and we have no reason to believe that the Lerners "get it" as far as paying to put a winner on the field soon. Add LaRoche and it becomes a mild success. Add LaRoche and anyone who improves our rotation- not necessarily a #1 or #2 starter, just any improvement- and it's a significant success. Find a way to bolster the bench so we don't have the likes of Willie Harris and Alberto Gonzalez getting 200 ABs, and it's a huge success. Asking for all of those things are well within reason considering ticket prices and the Nats' current payroll obligations.

  15. sec3 - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    We might also consider withholding judgement until they actually, y'know, play baseball.

  16. Berndaddy - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    We need to chill out and give it a week to see how things flesh out. I have to admit that when they didn't get Pena I have a worry about what's to come, not that I wanted him. The flame on the stove has been burning extra unbelievablely high and now it's rolling down to a medium high. Let's hope something happens before X-Mas…cause than the flame start going out…

  17. Ballinonabudget - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Nats Current 25-man rosterCA – Rodriguez1B – 2B – EspinosaSS – Desmond3B – ZimmermanLF – WillinghamCF – MorganRF – WerthBE – BernadinaBE – MorseBE – GonzalezBE – RamosBE – SP -SP – ZimmermannSP – HernandezSP – MarquisSP – LannanRP – StorenRP – ClippardRP – BurnettRP – BalesterRP – SlatenRP – Ramirez (Rule 5)RP – Broderick (Rule 5)I hope the Nats can get LaRoche for the 1st base spot. I think he is the best option, and with no prospects that close to major-league ready, I think the Nats can lock him up for 2 or 3 years.The last bench spot could be any number of guys. Goessling suggested Willie Harris, Willie Bloomquist, David Eckstein, Nick Punto, and Gabe Gross. I'm pretty much on the "Anybody But Willie Harris" ticket at this point. It seems like it should be a lefty bat though, since Bernadina is the only lefty on the bench.I don't think the Nats are going to, or should go after Pavano, the best Starting pitcher left on the market. Three years is too long for a guy who we really shouldn't need at all if Strasburg hadn't gotten hurt. I think Rizzo should try to work a trade for Garza or Greinke, and if it costs Willingham, Bernadina, or Desmond and a few prospects, I think he should do it. Any and all other trades could throw my brilliant plan right out the window. :)Go Nats!

  18. Souldrummer - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    @BallinonabudgetI don't think that Ramirez and Broderick are guaranteed slots by any means. Remember that they also like Cole Kimball and Adam Carr a lot. Broderick might be another guy in the mix if they don't sign another starter but looks he'd have a hard time sticking. Ramirez is somebody who could battle in the bullpen mix but to me it seems that you've got an open competition between Cole Kimball, Adam Carr and the two Rule 5 guys for spots 7 and 8 of the bullpen on Opening Day.And there's still a lot of time to go before pitchers and catchers report.

  19. The Great Unwashed - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Bowdenball, you stole my thunder! I second that motion.

  20. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    I don’t agree with the comment “Basically, all they did was swap contracts in Werth for Dunn”I strongly suspect Dunn is significantly overrated by the various statistical measures used to measure players. He is too inconsistent week to week. Sure he will give you a week with 6 homers, but when he slumps, it's deep, and it destroys your offense. For Example, Reread Mark’s 25 August blog “Slumping slugger, slumping lineup". "Dunn provided seven hits and 28 strikeouts in his last 58 at-bats. He's produced one RBI since August 7 (on a solo homer) and has seen his batting average plummet from .280 to .259."Is there a stat that correlates this type (week to week) of inconsistency / slump and its impact on an offense? The only thing I see mentioned regarding is consistency is over a period of years, but that obviously runs counter to my theory.

  21. David Lint - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. PAY TO PLAY - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Rizzo needs to make a trade or two with a surplus of AAA starters or John Lannan for some much needed holes in AA and AAA as they desperately need a CF of the future as well as a 1st baseman of the future.I really like the Yonder Alonso, Mike Trout, Ryan Westmoreland, Brett Wallace, Mike Taylor, and Lorenzo Cain ideas. Bourjos flopped during his callup with the Angels I believe so probably not but there has to be some young stars that are trade worthy for the Nationals.The Angels, Brewers, Dodgers, and Reds all have holes to fill where the Nats have some players for them.

  23. David Lint - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    Slumps and hot streaks mean nothing over the course of a season.They all even out in the end.100 RBI's is 100 RBI's no matter how you get them.Just as most players never really improve their numbers. What they are, is what they are.Mostly, it's just noise.

  24. Bob L. Head - Dec 9, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    That's a useful list, Ballin. Flores might be in for Ramos I suppose. And I sure wish we hadn't re-signed the AG and his sub-.300 OBP.I think they have to sign LaRoche in order for this offseason to be deemed a success. If they do that, and keep Willingham, then they have arguably upgraded the offense while clearly improving the defense at two positions (right and first). I like Bernadina and Morse as our primary bench options, and I'm not eager to give up Desmond or Espinosa in a deal for pitching. Sign Wang and Webb and wait for 2013. This offense should be competitive:1. Morgan, CF2. Desmond, SS3. Zimmerman, 3B4. Werth, RF5. Willingham, RF6. LaRoche, 1B7. Espinosa, 2B8. Rodriguez, C

  25. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    David Lint, so you believe Carlos Pena will remain a sub-.200 hitter?

  26. Feel Wood - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    They did not simply swap out Dunn in favor of Werth, one to one. They removed a one trick pony in Dunn and added a complete ballplayer in Werth. Granted, Dunn's one trick is a very nice trick, but it's still just the one trick. Therefore, the Dunn for Werth switch represents a net improvement in the team. Signing a first baseman and/or a bench player with a bat will only add to the improvement, no matter who these pieces turn out to be.

  27. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    @ballinonabudget Unfortunately the package you throw out there for Greinke or Garza comes nowhere near the asking price. It would probably have to include Zimmermann, Desmond and possibly Norris plus a C+ type of prospect. The Royals have already stated they don't see the Nats as a team that is in the hunt for Greinke. However, I think the Rays are desperate enough to shed contract to lower the price on Garza.The Nats need Laroach, but more importantly need help in the rotation. Packaging Willingham with some prospects is a must. As a right-handed outfielder, he is a hot item on the market (we signed the other one…)Lets see how the next few days play out, the fallout after the winter meetings can be very interesting.

  28. Pilchard - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Almost no chance that the Nats keep both Rule V picks. In fact, there is less than a 50/50 chance that the Nats keep either on the 25 man roster. Yes, some Rule V picks stay on the roster all year, but most do not, especially players picked outside of the top 5.

  29. patkeane13 - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    @Pilchard Apparently the Mets are in love with Ramirez, so a trade would not happen. I bet the Nats keep Ramirez, but it all depends on Spring Training, to early to speculate (as I just have haha)

  30. David Lint - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Anon at 2:56 p.m. -Yes, I do believe Pena is pretty much done.The only thing that slows players production, other than injuries, is aging. Pena's aging curve is sharp, and I don't see a big bounce back for him.Will he about .198 this year? Most likely… just due to regression, and luck… but you won't ever see him hit over .230 again.

  31. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Let's not forget, either, that payroll still stands to rise, even if they add no one else. They have several arbitration eligible players, including Willingham and Lannan, who would be due big raises. So swapping Werth for Dunn/Guzman's old contracts is just part of it. Not saying that standing pat is "success" at this point, but just noting that the dollar-for-dollar comparison is not fair either…

  32. Steve M. - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Bob L. Head, you are stacking 2 – 5 with right handed batters which is part of the problem. I think if you get LaRoche he has to be batting 4th or 5th.Taking Ballinonabudget's list of 25, a LaRoche acquisition along with Pavano would really give this team a real shot to compete in the NL East. Still this team lacks serious depth besides Bryce Harper and the return of Stephen Strasburg as CF and 1st base will be deep dark holes until they come up with a long term solution as I think LaRoche is just a stopgap.Desmond/Espinosa are the 2 x-Factor players who could then step up as Sophomore/Rookie surprises I hope because I agree with Lint that most of the veterans are what they are and age is their biggest factor on which side of the up/down graph they are on.

  33. Bob L. Head - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Fair point Steve, I guess I'd switch Willingham and LaRoche. Maybe Espinosa can hit in the #2 slot eventually. This just shows how badly we need LaRoche.

  34. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    PTP: Mike Trout? He's like the highest rated prospect in baseball that isn't in the Nats organization! The Angels wouldn't trade him straight up for Werth. They probably wouldn't trade him for Werth if the Nats ate half the salary. Mike Trout ain't goin' nowhere! Angels probably would trade Trout for Zimmerman straight up but otherwise nobody has the juice to pry him loose.Isn't it nice to think that the highest rated prospect in baseball IS in the Nats organization?

  35. JayB - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    I agree with Bowdenball. They made a major shift and that is good. They are better if they do nothing more in reality and perception like Mark speaks to. Still I am sure hoping get more aggressive and stop waiting for key pieces like Adam L….they keep just missing on much needed pitching and 1B, CF and Bench….if they spent 30% more in their offers they put forward what would this team look like by now….1b Pena for @13 Mil for one year….that would be a huge improvement over where we are.

  36. JD - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    JayB, We apparently offered Pena multi year; sometimes players just want to play elsewhere; also Pena has regressed for 3 straight years; the odds are not good that he will reverse that trend. I would kick the tires on Beltran; I know the Mets want to get rid of his salary and this is his walk year so expect him to put up good numbers and he still plays a decent center field. If you do that you can move Morse to 1st base (I bet you he puts up better numbers than Pena).

  37. JayB - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    I understand we gave two years to Pena but likely at a less Avg per year right? He thinks he can rebound….one year contracts have very little risk…I would have gone that way and made sure he came here for one year.

  38. erocks33 - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    * Sign LaRoche. * Sign Nick Punto to be a bench player. Switch-hitter, terrific defensive infielder (2B/SS/3B). No pop, but plays hard. I could care less if they keep Alberto Gonzalez or not.* Sign a bona fide closer. Bobby Jenks? Kevin Gregg? Trevor Hoffmann? This gives Storen one more year to learn how to close. Also gives the Nats veteran stability in the bullpen and allows them to possibly trade this new closer in July, a la what they did with Matt Capps.* Ideally, trade for a true SP (Garza/Greinke). BUt I feel that's really not going to happen. I think Rizzo will end up signing Webb and/or Wang and hope that the current lineup (Zimmermann, Livo, Marquis, Lannan, Webb/Wang/Maya) will be able to hold up all seasonIf these things happen, then the Nats have a lineup that might look like:CF – Morgan (L)SS – Desmond (R)3B – Zimmerman (R)1B – LaRoche (L)RF – Werth (R)LF – Willingham (R)2B – Espinosa (S)C – Pudge (R)SP and bench of Bernadina (all OF positions), Morse (LF/RF/1B), Punto (2B/SS/3B) and Ramos (C). The starting pitching might be lacking, but the bullpen would be strong and the defense MUCH improved over last year. And then pray for 2012 to come quickly.

  39. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    "He thinks he can rebound….one year contracts have very little risk"Who told you that, Chien-Ming Wang?

  40. alexva - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    I think making the deal for Werth was ok in spite of overpaying in order that they get in the game. Do it too often however and you become the Redskins.I think some are still missing the fact that Dunn was not wanted back at any reasonable cost because he does not fit the plan of pitching and defense. Therefor saying Werth was merely a swap for Dunn is not valid as Dunn was gone in any event. Give them all the credit they deserve for making this deal on it's own.

  41. JayB - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Well no the fact he turned down multi year deals and wanted a one year deal….that tells us something…..either way I like a one year deal for any of these short term fix guys….No Adam Kennedy types in March please.

  42. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    Disagree (as is often the case) with Linty (David Lint). As Ladson put it "if you were GM the team would be 0-162". Definitely agree with Ladson on that.The Nats have started a process associated with a REAL PLAN. Not some bait-and-switch scheme that Bowden would cook up to placate the fans. In other words he lost on on Texiera so he signs Dunn. Texiera can be likened to Lee. They outbid everyone else, he was the right kind of player for the model Rizzo espouses.Werth IS THE superior athlete to Dunn. He fields his position and his OPS+ is equivalent to Dunn's. He should last longer than Dunn by any criteria used to measure such things. The only draw back is his right handed bat instead of lefty. But Rizzo did say he preferred Werth who was ranked just behind Crawford on the top free agent's list. Have to assume its for his intangibles. The Nats HAVE upgraded and continue to consistently and inexorably seek superior athletes with speed who can field their position and hit. They have apparently decided not to settle for less?They are still in the running for Cliff Lee. But as with Tex he may decide to go in a different direction just because its the Nats. I believe with the Werth signing and the pursuit of Lee the Nats have signaled what they are looking for, and that they will spare no expense whether in the farm system with prospects or at the major league level in getting it.

  43. Bowdenball - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    I like the erocks plan.LaRoche is the key, in my opinion. Without him the Nats have a HUGE hole on the field and at the plate. Once he's in the fold they can start fine-tuning the bullpen and the bench and thinking about how to have a 2011 season that best sets us up to contend in 2012 and beyond.I do like what I'm hearing from him and from the team; unlike Pena, he seems excited by the prospect of coming here. I'd be really really surprised if a LaRoche deal doesn't get done.

  44. Les in NC - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:59 PM

    @ erocks33I was just thinking about an addition of Nick Punto on our bench! Above average defense, great vision at the plate (his OBP is considerably higher then his BA), ability to play SS,2B, and 3rd, and (something Riggs would like) he is a switch hitter that is decent from both sides.Mark, any news that the Nats are interested in Punto?

  45. Anonymous - Dec 9, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    Post winter meetings needs:Veteran CloserLH 1BQuality pinch hitter for benchTwo more starters (Lannan is not guaranteed a spot IMHO)

  46. Tim - Dec 9, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    They needed to add more tallented players, who can stick with the team in the long term. Werth was the key and they got him. The plan is to improve by ~10 wins this year, penant race in 2012, and playoffs beyond.The rotation with Zimm for a full year, livo, healthy Marquis, and post AA Lannan should be better than last season. Getting LaRoche is important for 2011, but not long term.

  47. N. Cognito - Dec 9, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    Nick Punto?!?!?!

  48. BinM - Dec 10, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    Just my two-cents worth, but the team still needs a couple of critical pieces; In order of need…> An everyday LH-bat with some 'pop', most likely at 1B; LaRoche is the best FA option overall. Would a 2yr+/$14M offer land him? > Try to trade Willingham or Desmond (and some young arms) for a potential #1-2SP with 'controlled years' remaining. > Sign a bench IF (preferably LH or SH) with some speed. > Add a mid-market closer only if one 'falls in Rizzo's lap', much like Capps did last year. If it doesn't happen, a number of guys on the current roster (Burnett, Carr, Kimball, Severino, Storen) have all filled the role at some point in their careers to date. Let one of them earn it in Viera.

  49. JayB - Dec 10, 2010 at 12:51 AM

    BinM,I agree completely….if they miss on Adam L they will look incompetent again. Just do it….does it really matter if it is 2 years and 10, 12, 14 or 16…it needs to be done and soon so they can continue to make progress on your list.

  50. Anonymous8 - Dec 10, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    I am catching up on this stuff and disagree with you JayB on so much of your thoughts on Carlos Pena. He is represented by Rizzo's new best friend Bora$$ so Rizzo could have had him if the deal made sense to Rizzo and it didn't.Their [Boras] strategy was the same one they used with Adrian Beltre last year which meant a 1 year show-n-tell to get his value back up and it worked with Beltre and they are hoping it will with Pena. They also wanted to get Pena in with Rudy Jaramillo with the Cubs which was a key too.I don't think Rizzo wanted to pay over $10 million for a 1 year meet & greet with Pena. I think he made a good choice and I hope LaRoche is a better fit.

  51. Anonymous8 - Dec 10, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    LaRoche is represented by SFX and luckily Rizzo has a good relationship with them too. I agree that sooner is better than later. If you saw the ridiculous video of Ben Goessling with Roch Kubatko you know the Nats can't lose out to those pathetic Orioles. The Orioles are so tight that on the Reynolds and Hardy deals the Orioles requested cash on both deals. I think the biggest deal Angelos ever did was on his "mancrush" Nick Markakis. The Orioles under Angelos have no history of ever paying out over $10 million or more long term on any other deal and Angelos has owned the team for 17+ years. Not sure if the Orioles would pay more than $6 million per year on LaRoche anyway.

  52. Anonymous8 - Dec 10, 2010 at 1:33 AM

    Also, I think the Nats need to decide if Detwiler is a starter or please convert him full-time to a lefty in the bullpen.

  53. Anonymous8 - Dec 10, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    This team has time to continue to build and add some spare parts so it all doesn't have to be done this year although I think adding (like everyone said) LaRoche and adding Pavano (Pay To Play said) will help for many reasons of which one is Rizzo has to trade a back of the rotation starter for prospects.The reason the Nats can't trade prospects for Greinke and Garza is the Nats don't have enough prospects to trade so they have to start stockpiling prospects for the day they have to add a key part on a push for the playoffs like the Phillies did last year for Oswalt and the Rangers did for Cliff Lee.Rizzo has one blue chip trade piece which is Willingham and he needs to either sign him for an extension or trade him. In order to get top trade value, the Nats can't overuse him. They have to sit him for a game or 2 during the Spring to keep him healthy and fresh when the trade deadline approaches.

  54. David - Dec 10, 2010 at 3:21 AM

    Anonymous8 I generally like and agree with your post however Angelos did pay Albert Belle 65 million dollars over 5 years back in 1999. This contract combined with Belle's injury actually changed how insurance companies insure ball players today. Now I get your point I don't think the O's will outbid the Nats but I think LaRoche will get somewhere around 8 million a year maybe a little less if he is signed for 3 years. So the question is do the Nats want to give out a 3 year contract? If not its probably no better than even odds that he will sign with them.

  55. Anonymous - Dec 10, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    I can't wait for the Red Sox to begin hammering away!!!!

  56. sparky - Dec 10, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    Anonymous said… I can't wait for the Red Sox to begin hammering away!!!!************Gee, the only reason I don't post that every single day is that it's just obvious that we ALL can't wait for the Red Sox to begin hammering away!!!!

  57. Luis - Dec 10, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Hey Mark: Will there be a press conference to formally introduce Werth at Nats Park soon? (I wanna know what number he'll wear).

  58. Mark Zuckerman - Dec 10, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Luis: Sounds like the Werth press conference will be Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park. He'll be wearing No. 28, with Michael Morse switching to No. 19. I believe you can already buy Werth jerseys at the team store (and possibly online).

  59. Wally - Dec 10, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    It has been a few days since the buzz about Werth's contract. I have gotten a little distance from the excitement, surprise and expectation of 'more', and yet here is the thing. I think that I am more encouraged than I was originally. I am starting to think that maybe they are realizing and committing to a financial structure that is more appropriate for our market. Before, it seemed like we were just supposed to accept that we were small to mid market, and every domino like payroll, signing bonuses, etc, flows from there. But it used to drive me crazy to accept that, because there was no reason (except one) to accept that level. With the Werth signing, in addition to everything that has been said about team reconstruction, here is another truth: there definitely are implications for long term payroll expectations. He makes $18m per, which on a MLB average payroll of $85mish, represents 22% of payroll. Nobody gives that percentage to one guy, especially not a Pujols kind of guy. So I think it is fair to assume that they see long term payroll levels around the $100mish mark, if not higher.And you know what, that is where they should be. No one is the Yankees, and no one is really the Red Sox either (who are also not the Yanks, despite the last few days). But DC should be on par with the Chicago teams, the Dodgers/Angels, Detroit. It is wonderfully encouraging that, instead of hoping that the team would commit the appropriate financial resources and spend it wisely, to only worry about the second one. We are not completely there yet, and before anyone corrects me that the 2011 team is still about as bad as how it ended 2010 – yes, I know. But it is a good sign that it seems like they are heading down the right path, and I am pretty pumped about it (and I was a LaC guy). And honestly, if I see that they will commit money, I am more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt when they say that a guy like Dunn isn't worth what he is asking.Here is the one thing that I worried would hold them back – that MASN tv deal they were forced to sign with Angelos to get here. Media dollars are huge to pro teams these days, and they got a bum deal. IIRC, it is a phased approach where they only get like 10% of revenues for a while, and it grows in % over something like 20 years. I don't remember the details, but maybe it is one reason why they wasted the last 5 years, to blow through that down period?Anyway, count me in the 'woo hoo' camp.

  60. Anonymous - Dec 10, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Just checked. Indeed you can buy a Jayson Werth #28 jersey or T shirt at the nationals.com online store. Can't buy a Dunn #44 jersey there any more, but you CAN buy a Micheal Morse #28, Scott Olsen #19 (did they check with Morse before they gave him that number to make sure he's cool with jerseys that might have cigarette burns?) and Wil Nieves #23. Get 'em while they're hot!

  61. Anonymous - Dec 10, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    And they're all on Ebay, already.

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WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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