“Irresponsible.”

“Absolutely batshit crazy.”

These are just a few of the great quotes from the reaction to the Jayson Werth deal. Years from now we may look at free agency and remember deals before the Jayson Werth contract and deals after the Jayson Werth contract.

Werth is not a superstar. Yet the Nationals seem to think he is one when they threw the free agent market out of whack by signing him to a seven-year deal for $126 million. It’s the third largest contract for an outfielder in MLB history. Manny Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are the only two OFs to land larger deals than Werth’s mega contract.

Werth did not become an everyday player until 2008 with the Phillies. In three years in Philadelphia, Werth hit 24, 36 and 27 home runs, but has yet to have a 100-RBI season. Not to mention his clutch ability left something to be desired in Philly…he hit .186 with runners in scoring position in 2010. His career slash line is .272/.367/.481. He will turn 32 years old next May, which means he’ll be 39 once this contract expires. Werth was a nice complement piece in Philadelphia with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins being the stars. In Washington, Werth will be expected to be a star on a team that features one other top hitter in Ryan Zimmerman. This signing screams of a panic move by the Nats for losing slugger Adam Dunn to the White Sox, which begs the question of if they can afford Werth for $126MM why couldn’t they keep Dunn at $56MM over four years? The Dunn deal is less risk, more proven, and in my opinion, a more valuable player.

I just can’t envision a scenario where the Nats don’t end up regretting this signing. Even if Werth has a couple great seasons in that nation’s capital, I don’t see him producing all the way until he’s almost 40 years old. These are the kind of contracts that get teams like the Nationals in trouble. See the Rangers committing a good portion of their payroll to A-Rod years ago. It took them years to get out of that hole. The Yankees of the world can get away making a

This ridiculous contract will not only affect the Nationals, but will also leave a lasting mark on the entire free agent landscape this offseason. Carlos Pena picked up $10 million for a one-year deal with the Cubs, Carl Crawford is about to become a very rich man to play for the Red Sox and who knows what other crazy deals we’ll see before we reach spring training.

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