The Washington Nationals shook the baseball world on Sunday by signing Jayson Werth to a seven year, $126 million deal.
Werth is a very good player, a right fielder who does a little bit of everything. He’s coming off his best season yet, hitting .296/.388/.532 with the Phillies. That said, Werth is far from a premium talent, and perhaps more importantly he’s going to be 32 years old next season.
Here’s a basic forecast for Werth:
|Year||Werth’s age||Werth’s WAR||$/WAR||Salary|
That’s a total of $105M over the seven years, quite a bit under Werth’s actual salary of $126M over that time.
It looks like a might be situation where the Nats will be fine for a few years, but Werth becomes a burden later in the contract. If the Nationals envision themselves competing in a couple of years, with Strasburg, Harper, and company, and Werth becomes a key part of their first playoff run, the deal may end up being a good one – at least a defensible one.
In the end, it looks like a bad deal, though not a historical bad one. If Werth were a few years younger, it might be a perfectly fair contract, but guaranteeing an aging slugger with Werth’s profile $18M per for seven years probably isn’t the best use of resources, especially for a team in Washington’s situation.
*The chart above is merely one simplistic implementation of the numbers, and should not be taken too seriously.