Ron Costello

Monday, August 6, 2018

J-Dub, Jayson Werth was a solid contributor in Philly.
The numbers say Jayson Werth was a solid major league hitter. Fifteen seasons, .267 average, 229 home runs, .360 on-base percentage, 799 RBI's. One All-Star appearance: 2009.

Not bad.

The money says something else. The money says Jayson Werth is Cooperstown.

How so?

In 2011 the Washington Nationals had the 22nd lowest payroll out of 30 major league teams. The club — in the league for six seasons — had finished dead-last five times. Its attendance dismal; arguably the worst franchise in baseball in a hot market nestled along the Potomac. 


But ownership had deep pockets and was looking to make a splash; something big that would notify baseball —particularly its fanbase — that it was making progress.

Seeking a name, the Nationals went fishing in Philadelphia, a team with three straight postseason appearances, two World Series appearances, and one World Series Championship. They hooked the Phillies hard-hitting five-hole hitter with the caveman locks who hit in the clutch and played reckless defense, Jayson Werth.

They threw enough money at Mr. Werth that if he had said no, he would've been the dumbest player in any professional sport in history: $126 million over seven years, including a $4 million signing bonus. 

The Faithful even booed JD's little brother,
  Stephen Drew.

The Phillies, after signing Cliff Lee ($120 million) and in the process of signing Ryan Howard ($125  million), Roy Halladay ($60 million), Chase Utley ($27 million), and Cole Hamels ($15 million), had no money in the kitty for Jayson Werth.

So he took the $126 million — something I or any of you reading this or any functioning adult would have done. Money that better than average, solid major league players rarely, if ever, make.

Nonetheless, the cranky Philadelphia Faithful — watching its team slowly erode with major injuries — sent Mr. Werth to the woodshed, joining the likes of lifetime members Del Ennis, JD Drew, Scott Rolen, and Rod Bajajas, to name a few.

Werth was labeled unfaithful, ungrateful, and a  money-grubber. Every time back to Philadelphia — which was often playing in the same division — the Faithful opened up on Werth. Sometimes the boos continued through his at-bat, followed by cheering if he made an out; thunderous cheering if he stuck out. 

But J-Dub took advantage of the unwelcome welcome he received, and many times answered back with a key hit or home run or great running catch. For the seven years, he was a National, the boos greeted him at CBP.
$126 million-man,  Jayson Werth.


Until Sunday.

At 39, he's out of baseball now, nevertheless, on Sunday Mr. Werth returned to Philadelphia to participate in the 2008 championship celebration and was announced onto the field by Dan Baker. As he jogged toward the first base line to join his former teammates, he received a standing ovation.

The Faithful had forgiven him. 

He held up his hands — with a wide-eyed grin, scanning the seats — and sucked in the ovation. He deserved it. Every decibel of it.

Sunday: Arbitration and the next Jayson Werth.

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