Jayson Werth: 5 Potential Landing Spots For Veteran Outfielder
The MLB offseason has not yet heated up. But that’s about to change in the coming weeks. Yesterday, Doug Fister signed a deal with the Texas Rangers, making him the first free agent domino to fall. With the Winter Meetings a few weeks away, trade talks will be the talk of the town soon enough. For today’s discussion, however, let’s focus on a former World Series-winning outfield on the backend of his career, Jayson Werth.
Werth is clearly not the superstar he once was. He is entering a season in which he will be turning 39-years-old. So he will certainly not be the hottest name on the market. As a matter of fact, we very well may wait until 2018 before he finds a new home. But with word on the street being the Washington Nationals are not looking to re-sign him, the question has to be asked. Where will Jayson Werth be playing in 2018?
Werth is coming off an injury-riddled season in which he only played in 70 games. Given the injuries he suffered through, it came as no surprise to see his overall stat line come in under the “not that impressive” category. However, his 10 homers, plus 20 the season before, shows he still has some pop.
Given his age, it’s very likely he is looking at a one year, possibly incentive laden, contract, maybe with a club option. As a result, his market could be surprisingly large. A young, rebuilding team could sign him as a veteran presence that they would look to flip at the deadline. Possibly a mid-level team who may try to platoon him. We cannot rule out a true contender, who views him as a fourth outfielder/part-time DH.
With all that said, let’s look at five teams who could represent the best fits for Jayson Werth.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres have shown in the past they are willing to make moves. Given the current state of the franchise, adding a veteran presence for their young team would make some sense. Werth is not going to cost much, and the team can offer a vesting option to make things more enticing to come to a non-contender.
As a soon to be 39-year-old veteran, going to a warm weathered team like San Diego makes some sense. He would clearly be a mid-season trade candidate if he performs well. So the moral of the story is, Werth can spend half the year in the beautiful city of San Diego mentoring young players, while still having a chance to end the season on a contender.
Chicago White Sox
Like the Padres, the Chicago White Sox offer the “rebuilding team who would look to flip Werth in July” scenario. However, there is one key difference. The White Sox play in the American League, meaning Werth would be able to DH. Given his injury history, getting to bat without putting the extra wear and tear on his body from playing the outfield makes plenty of sense.
Think of Werth of this season’s version of Matt Holliday. Holliday went to the New York Yankees a season ago, with the primary appeal being he could DH in a hitter-friendly ballpark. The White Sox offer that same scenario to Werth this Winter.
If Werth is looking for some consistent playing time in a hitter-friendly ballpark, look no further than Camden Yards. The Orioles are in a bit of a tough spot this offseason. They have plenty of players set to hit the open market following the 2018 season. They will likely try to contend this season, without having to shell out any big contracts.
So a veteran player like Werth fits the potential target list. Right field is currently up for grabs, meaning Werth could step right in. He is also the type of player they could try to platoon if they felt he is not worthy of the full-time role. Werth is familiar with the Washington-Baltimore area, so seeing him make the small move would not be a surprise. The Orioles will also offer him the chance to get some at-bats at DH, like the White Sox.
Toronto Blue Jays
Let’s keep this simple. Toronto offers a very similar situation as Baltimore. They are a team that is not seen as a true contender, but also not in a rebuild. However, they are in the American League, so DH at-bats are an option. They also have an opening in the outfield, meaning Werth could find himself in an everyday role potentially.
Boston Red Sox
Now, what if Werth realizes his time in baseball is almost over, and he simply wants to go after a World Series ring? Maybe he is willing to sacrifice playing time for the chance to win his second career World Series. Then another AL East team comes to mind. The Boston Red Sox could use a fourth outfielder/part-time DH type. The result, Werth could be a good fit.
The BoSox are coming off a season in which they won the AL East. They have three solid outfielders, so the need there is not clear. But their DH spot is currently open. Bringing Jayson Werth aboard provides the team with a quality veteran player who can sub in the outfield for any of the three guys, while also seeing his share of at-bats without playing defense.
What do you think? Where will Jayson Werth sign for the 2018 season? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!