Seems like even Scott Boras was surprised at what Werth got

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Overheard this morning in the lobby at the Winter Meetings: Scott Boras didn’t even do the “thank you for your offer; let us assess it and get back with you thing” with the Nationals when they went to seven years, $126 million. It was just — bam — “where do we sign?!”

That was all said in a half-joking way — I’m sure Boras played it cool — but the sense among the chattering insiders here was clear: even the agent who likes to take his time and work everyone against everyone in negotiations was surprised that the Nats gave Werth as many years and as many dollars as he got.

It’s such a crazy deal that I’m starting to come off the notion that everyone has about how much Carl Crawford will demand or ultimately will get.  I mean, yes, baseball free agency is a market, but it’s a less than perfect market with hardly an infinite amount of bidders.  Just because the Nats are nuts doesn’t mean there are other nuts out there waiting to overpay people. If Crawford says he wants ten years and $190 million or something, wouldn’t the proper response for suitors be “sorry, the only insane team has already signed its big fish this winter. We’re not insane.”

I think Werth’s deal will ultimately mean that Crawford gets paid well, but the sheer lunacy of his contract may actually cause negotiations to drag on longer than they otherwise would have due to just how far out of a rational frame of reference it is. There will be push back from teams, I bet. At least a bit, and at least for a little while.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright from the disabled list

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The Cardinals announced ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Reds that pitcher Adam Wainwright has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Wainwright, 36, has been absent since mid-August due to a right elbow impingement. The Cardinals plan to use him out of the bullpen through the end of the season. Prior to the injury, the right-hander posted a disappointing 5.12 ERA with a 96/44 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings.

Wainwright is under contract for one more year at $19.5 million before becoming eligible for free agency.