Jayson Werth spoke to the media today, and the subject of his contract came up. His comments — posted over at the Phillies Zone — were pretty interesting. He basically said that once he hit free agency he no longer viewed himself as a member of the Phillies but rather, viewed himself as a member of the union and, as such, was looking to “maximize things” contract-wise. It’s uncommon candor on the subject. Read his entire quote for the nuance.
This just illustrates one of the many reasons why Tony La Russa’s charge of union meddling in the Pujols negotiations was rather silly. The union doesn’t need to pressure guys to try to take the biggest deal they can. They are all well-aware of the dynamics in play and that money they leave on the table is money that other, comparable players may not be able to get later as a result. This doesn’t obligate them — guys will give hometown discounts they’ll avoid places they don’t want to play even if it means passing up a big offer — but the pressure is inherent, not a top-down thing in any given case.
The comment also illustrates the fact that, yeah, Werth was looking for the biggest bucks when he signed with Washington. Nothing wrong with that. He can do whatever he wants and who are we to criticize him for it. But it does mean that the stuff about liking the way the Nationals are heading and being excited about them and everything should probably be given appropriate weight in the grand scheme of things.