The public comments surrounding Jayson Werth's free agency have been relatively sparse from both the Phillies and Werth's camp thus far.
That changed yesterday when Werth's agent, Scott Boras, spoke at length to MLB Network Radio's Inside Pitch on XM Radio, addressing the situations of both Werth and Adrian Beltre, another high-profile client.
Boras said the "dialogue continues" with the Phillies about Werth, addressed the difficulty of hitting fifth in the Phillies' lineup and compared Werth to Dwight Evans.
Credit to Boston sports radio station WEEI transcribing highlights of the interview. We included some of the questions specific to Beltre, because Boras makes reference to Werth in his answers.
Do the Phillies have any chance at Werth? Shane Victorino said he hasn’t received an offer from the Phillies.
[Phillies GM] Ruben [Amaro] and I have had conversations. We’ll continue to have them. The best thing I can say is the dialogue continues. That’s not something I can really define at this point.
What is Werth looking at in terms of geography, chance to win, lineup, etc.?
He’s enjoyed a tremendous platform in Philadelphia because he has what I think every free agent would want. You’ve got winning, you’ve got a great fan base, a nice stadium, an area that they’re geographically happy with. All of those elements, Jayson’s lived on the West Coast, he’s lived on the East Coast, so he’s open to consideration for a lot of franchises, which really, I think, look at his role on the team. I think, hitting in the fifth spot in Philadelphia is very difficult. To have the people behind you, certainly [Ryan] Howard and [Chase] Utley enjoyed having Jayson behind them.
It’s hard to score a lot of runs. When you’re scoring 100 runs from the fifth spot, you’ve done something pretty unique. For a guy with great speed and stolen base efficiency – over the last five or six years, it’s one of the best in baseball – you’re talking about a situation for him where he’s performed very, very well offensively and frankly had very good production numbers even though he’s hitting in the fifth hole.
What are the chances of Beltre returning to Boston?
Again, I think it’s, we’ve, I would have to say in my years of doing this, I’ve never had so much interest in one player. I’m not sure the media quite understands what Boston did for Adrian Beltre. But I think his leadership has come to surface. We’ve had a number of teams contact us, vastly more than we ever expected. We expected a good number certainly, but there are teams wanting to move players to make room for him. With both these players, the metrics are so good for the longevity of their performance with the positions that they play.
In Jayson Werth’s case, you can look at Dwight Evans and see what he’s done at an age from 29-31, and you see it’s actually a little bit under what Werth’s done. He played at a very high level, averaging about 27 home runs and 100 RBIs from the age of 32-37. You can look at [Mike] Schmidt’s career or George Brett’s career or [Paul] Molitor’s career in the case of Beltre. He’s performed at levels that are commensurate with them from 25-31. You would expect that those players’ performances at the position from 32-38 was also at very solid levels you would expect from players of that ilk. I think the metrics are there to illustrate that these are really good players, and that they’re going to be really good players for a long time.
Have you talked with the Red Sox about having both at Fenway?
I’m not going to address what specific teams are doing, but I can tell you there are a lot of teams that need an outfielder who has the versatility to play center field, play right field. These are complete players, players with Gold Glove defensive abilities at their respective positions, and they also give you middle-of-the-lineup offense. Certainly, in the marketplace, we’ve got Carl Crawford – more of a leadoff type who doesn’t have the power of a Jayson Werth. Over the last three years, you have one with 80 home runs and one with 40. They’re different types of players. For clubs looking for a middle-of-the-lineup player who can play center field and play right field, certainly having a commodity like Werth available is something that, in free agency, we don’t usually get. We usually get a corner outfielder who can perform well. But someone with that athleticism and that speed is usually not something that you get with that requisite power.
The same is true in Adrian’s case. I hear a lot of people talk about the Gold Glove voting and the acumen. You’ve got to remember that the Boston infield is one of the most treacherous in the major leagues. I’ve watched a lot of third basemen for a long time, and I’ve never seen one better than Adrian Beltre. A lot of teams recognize that, and then you add in his offensive exponential and his leadership.
This is really a free agent market, you’ve got really three or four players that can make a substantial difference on a franchise. While most pundits write that the free agent market isn’t that good, I think this is the modern free agent market, where you’re not going to have that many players reach it that often because of earlier signings, more teams can sign players right now. I think this market represents a quality of high-level free agents that can really help franchises. …
Every owner that comes in, they want to know what this type of athlete, if you have an athlete who hasn’t played that much when he was younger like Werth, how do you know that this player is going to play at the levels he’s played at for longer periods of time. These are questions that we talk about. It’s actually kind of a positive, because he was a catcher before. He didn’t play that much. His injury that prevented him from playing was a wrist injury that’s now been repaired. It doesn’t have anything to do with his legs or joints or ligaments or hips. He’s really a fresh player as far as tendons, joints and ligaments. Then you start using the examples. You go and find players that have done in the last three years at this particular level, [how] they’ve performed. That’s why I raised Dwight Evans or Moises Alou or Eddie Murray. These players have averaged 26 home runs, 90-100 RBIs, around 90 runs scored between the ages of 29-31. What did they do from the ages of 32-37 and after that? Then you can see that there are a number of players who performed at equal levels for a number of years. That’s about the best you can do to give definition to the speculative question of, ‘Well, will he or won’t he play at the levels he’s going to play?’...
When you step into that, you can say, ‘What’s his chances of performing at this level from the ages of 32-38?’ Then you can give empirical data. By doing these things, the speculation part of it is based on less opinion and more substance. Our job is to try to ferret this information out, answer it substantively. It creates, I think, a better forum for negotiating. That’s probably the most difficult part of the job, because it takes a great deal of time, data and information to make that very simple exhibit so you can illustrate it to an owner so he can get a better job of what we’re talking about.