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.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.