JEFF PEARLMAN

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What’s a Werth Worth?

The Washington Nationals have signed Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million deal, which means he will be collecting big bucks in the nation’s capital at the ripe old age of 39.

Uh … yeah.

This one, I don’t really get. Werth is a very good baseball player. Maybe even a great baseball player. But is he one of the game’s, oh, Top 30 players? No. He’s a corner outfielder with solid pop, a gold glove, bundles of energy and the ability—at best—to hit .310ish with 30-35 homers and 110 RBIs. He’s a piece of a puzzle, but far from someone you’d build a franchise around.

The biggest issue, from my vantage, is that Werth is a creep. Traditionally, guys who make this sort of salary are asked to carry a franchise both on and off the field. Whether they like it or not, ballplayers like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran and David Ortiz are being paid not only to produce, but to conduct themselves with a certain, oh, class. Werth, however, is a classless dolt—rude, dismissive, hostile. He’s not merely the sort of guy to say, “No, I’m busy.” He’s the gem who utters, “Why the fuck would I talk with you?” This might work if you’re Barry Bonds or Albert Belle—both of whom were superdooper stars (steroids not being factored in). Werth is merely a star. An OK star.

That executives like Sandy Alderson are mocking the deal makes perfect sense. It was a foolish move by a foolish franchise.

Weird.