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.