Instead of re-signing OF Jayson Werth, the Philadelphia Phillies decided to go in another direction, giving the Washington Nationals an opportunity to make a splash in free agency when they signed Werth to a seven-year $126 million deal.
Instead, the Phillies signed left-hander Cliff Lee, bringing him back to the team that he led to a National League Pennant in 2009.
Werth told Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News that he thought the Phillies could have had both players had they managed the team’s budget correctly.
“I think if they would have played it right they would have had us both,” said Werth. “I mean, they traded Cliff away for prospects and then realized that was probably not what they should have done. They ended up paying him a lot more than they would have if they’d signed him the year before. Then we would have had him. Chances are if they had signed him before they traded him, it probably would have made it a little easier to sign me.”
While Werth said that there are “no hard feelings” between the he and the team, he understands that baseball is a business. He also said that once he learned of the team’s interest in Lee, knowing the team’s financial situation, he concluded that his days in Philly were numbered.
“It kind of made it seem like they were playing us against each other a little bit,” said Werth.
This is interesting because Werth clearly had a home in Philadelphia and he very much enjoyed his time there. He won four division championships, two national league pennants, and a World Series, so he is leaving a place that brought him some serious hardware. However, Werth has distinguished himself as one of the better outfielders in the game, and he deserved a big payday, because at age 31 and in his prime, this was Werth’s last chance to sign a long-term deal.