I’ve not yet seen any statements from the Phillies on this, but in light of the Howard extension, is it at all likely that they’ll be able to sign Jayson Werth once he hits free agency this fall?
As of now, the Phillies’ contractual obligations for 2012 are $87 million for a mere eight players (thanks to Crashburn Alley for the figures). Are they really going to go over $100 million for just nine guys? Because that’s what signing Werth will require.
This is not a rhetorical point. I really don’t know enough about the Phillies finances to know if all the success and full houses these past few years has placed them into a new, higher-budget reality in which they can justify such things. Worth noting, though, that the Cliff Lee trade was motivated in part by the realization that, no, the team cannot simply sign whoever they want to. At least as of this past winter, it was determined that choices must be made.
And a big choice is coming this offseason. Jayson Werth is a hell of a player. The team’s success these past couple of years has had a lot to do with him. Hardly any player is a must-sign kind of guy, and Werth isn’t one of them, but he is important, and if he goes, there will be a hole to fill.
The guy who will be called on to fill that hole is Domonic Brown. He’s an impressive prospect to be sure. I had assumed that he’d be called up next year as a part time player/Ibanez fill-in and eventually would take over left field. But if the Howard extension means that Werth leaves town, he’s going to need to be more than a prospect. He’s going to need to be a key contributor to the Phillies 2011 offense as its starting right fielder.
On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.
The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.