Jayson Werth just ensured that Philly fans overrun Nationals Park again

16 Comments

Remember last year how Phillies fans came down to Washington en masse for a couple of series against the Nationals?  About how no one in Washington except the accountants were happy with it?  About how it was a symbol of just how bad Nationals baseball was that fans from an opposing team would travel and take over the Nationals’ very own ballpark?  Well, Jayson Werth went on a radio show today and assured Nats fans that that won’t happen again:

“That’s gonna change quick. I think you guys are gonna see. The owners are on board, and Mike Rizzo’s done a good job. The reason those people come over here is they don’t have a chance to watch their team in Philadelphia. And as soon as we start filling the seats here with Nats fans, those people are gonna go away and we’re gonna regain home-field advantage. And I’m looking forward to that day, for sure.”

That’s admirable. And I really do hope that Werth helps instill a fresh new attitude about the Nationals in their hometown.  But if he thinks that’s going to do anything apart from inspiring Philly fans to try even harder to buy out the seats to the first Nats-Phillies series in Washington next season he’s crazy.  If anything, tickets in CBP will be even harder to come by then they were last season, what with Cliff Lee and all.  And with Werth drawing this line in the sand, you just know that there are thousands of Philly fans who will be eager to cross it.

By the way: that first series is April 12th through the 14th.  Get your credit cards and bus tickets ready, Philly fans!

The Phillies plan to spend money and “maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”

Getty Images
8 Comments

In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.

“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.

Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.

How novel.