Nationals reach seven-year, $126M deal with Jayson Werth

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Big news here as the baseball world continues its migration to Orlando, Florida for the Winter Meetings.

According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, free agent outfielder Jayson Werth is close to agreeing to a contract with the Nationals.

Zolecki has not heard any particulars on the terms of the deal, but it’s sure to be a big one.  Werth is represented by super agent Scott Boras, who usually recommends that his top-tier clients wait until the later part of the offseason to sign.  Unless, of course, they’re overwhelmed by big time money.

Werth batted .296/.388/.532 with 27 homers and 85 RBI over 156 games for the Phillies in 2010 and should do well for several years in D.C.  The Nats probably overpaid for him, disappointed by Adam Dunn’s departure and inspired by Ryan Zimmerman’s recent comments about the direction of the organization, but a deal with Werth represents a small coup for the Washington front office.  They’ve courted many top free agents since moving to the nation’s capital and been spurned by pretty much all of them.

Werth wearing the Curly W, that’s cute.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says the deal is done.

UPDATE II: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Werth will get a seven-year deal.  Yikes.

UPDATE III: According to Rosenthal, the seven-year contract will be worth $126 million.  That’s an unbelievable amount of money — more than the Cardinals paid a younger Matt Holliday last winter.

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.