Mike Schmidt — the baseball player, not the New York Times reporter — has a column today in which he questions the wisdom of the Washington Nats’ deal with Jayson Werth.
I question the wisdom of it too, as do a lot of people. But what is striking about Schmidt’s criticism is that it’s based on Werth being a “young man” with “potential” who is “in his growth stage.” Of course, Jayson Werth will be 32 next season. Almost everyone else who has criticized the deal has done so on the basis that he’s too old to be given seven years. So, yeah, this one is a bit different.
I will say, though, Schmidt’s use of one phrase has to give Nats’ fans the willies:
Jayson now will be the man, the cleanup hitter with the burden of production, far surpassing anything he has experienced.
That’s rather stark, and for as obvious as it is, I hadn’t thought of it in those terms since the signing. The notion of Werth being your best player — which, if the Nats don’t lock up Ryan Zimmerman, he may one day be — is kind of sobering. The young kid stuff aside, I agree with Schmidt that having so much riding on Jayson Werth is a bit scary.