Scott Boras is looking for Matt Holliday money for Jayson Werth

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According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the belief is that Jayson Werth could seek a contract similar to the seven-year, $120 million deal Matt Holliday received from the Cardinals last winter.

Scott Boras stated his new client’s case for big dollars on Friday.

“We have, in my mind, probably the most coveted offensive player in the free-agent market,” Boras said. “Carl Crawford is a really great player, but the truth of the matter is, Werth scores as many runs, and his on-base percentage is the same. Werth is a guy that can play center field and has played center field recently. He’s a Gold Glove-type outfielder. Crawford is, too. But the big difference is that Werth has 87 home runs over the last three years and Crawford has 42. Werth is really a middle-of-the-lineup guy. I think when he bats third, he’ll be a 110-to-120-runs-scored guy and a 100-RBI guy. And I think teams that are looking for a right-handed bat view Werth as a middle-of-the-lineup guy.”

It’s true that Werth has a big advantage over Crawford in the OPS department. He also helps balance a team’s lineup from the right side of the plate. But that’s where the comparison ends. Crawford, 29, is nearly two years younger than the 31-year-old Werth and is arguably the best left fielder in the major leagues. If any player gets a seven-year contract this offseason, it will be Crawford.

As our own Matthew Pouliot mentioned earlier this week, the more realistic benchmark for Werth is the four-year, $66 million contract Jason Bay received from the Mets last winter. For what it’s worth, Pouliot ranked Werth as the No. 3 free agent this offseason and Crawford No. 2.

The Phillies haven’t closed the door on re-signing Werth, but two MLB officials told Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse that the Tigers seem like a likely landing spot. The fun begins in less than 24 hours.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.