Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. met with reporters in Orlando, the site of the winter meetings, in the aftermath of Jayson Werth agreeing to a 7-year, $126 million contract with Washington.
Q: What is your reaction?
Amaro: “A little bit of a surprise as far as the team is concerned. But I’m glad for Jayson. I mean, Jayson worked very hard to get to the point where he could command this type of a contract. We did have interest in him. We did make him an offer we thought was pretty significant. We did that quite some time ago, actually. I think we’ve had that offer out there for about two weeks. But, obviously, he ended up getting something that was to his liking.”
Q: Surprised at the numbers?
Amaro: “Surprised? Not necessarily. I think the length was a little surprising but, again, it only takes one team to have that interest. And obviously it was important to the Nats that they add that kind of a bat, especially after having lost Adam Dunn. But, again, I’m glad for Jayson as a person. I think it’s great. It’s part of the process and we’ll have to move on.”
Q: There was a certain segment of the fan base that wanted him back at any cost. Do you think that these numbers will kind of make people see that committing that much for that many years might not have been wise?
Amaro: “I can’t operate and worry necessarily about how the fans are going to react and that kind of stuff. Although with the free agent market, you just don’t have any idea how things are going to work out. We had an idea of what we felt we would be comfortable with as far as a contract offer is concerned. We felt like we offered him a significant contract, but clearly at the end of the day, you know, it was about him trying to get the best contract he could. And I think he did.”
Q: You say you made a significant offer. But would it be fair to say that it was also significantly less than what he ended up getting from Washington?
A: “Yes, as far as years are concerned. Not necessarily on the AAV.”
Q: What are your feelings about him staying in the division? You’re going to see him a lot next year.
A: “We’ll get him out a lot. That’s what I think. I believe that we will. I know we’re going to try.”
Q: Do you know the secret?
A: (Laughing) “I think we do.”
Q: Can you now focus on getting another righthanded bat?
A: “Not necessarily. We could have our righthanded bat on our club right now. I’ve said this a few times already. We could have our rightfielder within our organization. We’ll still have to continue to assess that and see if in fact that’s the route we want to take. But frankly I’m going to have to find somebody who I think is going to be worth making a move on based on what we think about Ben Francisco and possibly Dom Brown. We still haven’t made any final decisions on who our rightfielder is going to be. But there’s one gut out of the mix now and we have to decide which way we want to go.”
Q: What do you make of what happened to Dom Brown in winter ball?
Amaro: “I actually talked to the agent when I found out and after talking to Charley Kerfeld a few times. And the fact of the matter is he looked sluggish and was tired. I told Mike Fishlin there was no reason for him to be out there if it wasn’t going to be a benefit to him. I believe in winter ball as a tool, but only if the player is going to get some benefit from it. We wanted him to get some more at bats, it sounded like from talking to Charley and ultimately the agent that it just wasn’t a benefit for him. So we decided to get him back home and to let him get ready for spring training.”