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.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.