|Source: Red Sox never made formal offer to Jayson Werth||12.06.10 at 2:19 am ET|
According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox never made a formal contract offer to outfielder Jayson Werth before he signed his stunning seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals. The Sox, according to the source, “got nowhere near” such figures in their conversations with the outfielder (which included a face-to-face meeting between the player, agent Scott Boras and Red Sox officials last week).
The Sox did have legitimate interest in Werth (hence the meeting), and one team source felt that even if one viewed outfielder Carl Crawford as a better all-around player and a more likely impact player because of his age (he turned 29 in August; Werth turned 31 last May), Werth would still represent the better value in the marketplace based on the idea that Crawford might get a seven- or eight-year deal in the $18-20 million range. The source expected that Werth would get at least five years.
But no one — presumably, except for the Nationals and Boras — foresaw the possibility of a seven-year deal that will keep Werth under contract through his age 38 season. Industry reaction in the lobby of the Dolphin Resort was near disbelief, with the deal being deemed by one source “comical.”
The Sox are in position to spend this offseason, thanks in no small part to the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, who will account for just $6 million and change against the luxury tax threshold this year. Even so, the team would never have gone to the lengths of the Nationals’ deal for Werth and, with his contract now representing the bar for elite outfielders, it will be interesting to see whether Crawford ends up being an option, or if he will command a deal of more years and dollars that would deter the Sox from becoming involved in the bidding.
Werth’s signing did have a significant benefit for the Sox, however. The Sox were anxious to see whether Werth might sign with the Tigers. If he did so (and the Tigers are believed to be in the market for an outfield upgrade), the compensatory draft pick that the Sox received from Detroit for its signing of Victor Martinez would have been bumped from the first round to the second round, owing to the fact that Werth received a higher rating from the Elias Sports Bureau than Martinez.
If the Tigers had added Werth, the Sox’ compensation pick for Martinez would have dropped from the No. 19 overall selection in the 2011 draft to a second round selection, likely more than 40 picks later. But, with Werth not in Motown, unless the Tigers sign closer Rafael Soriano or starter Cliff Lee (neither of whom has been connected to Detroit), the Sox now appear to be in excellent shape to receive their highest draft pick since 2003, in what is expected to be a phenomenal draft.
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