December 2nd, 2010
The Tigers still see a need for a right-handed bat in the middle of their lineup, and right field is the one opening they see where they can add that. They would like to bring back Magglio Ordonez, but agent Scott Boras is expected to wait until after the top free-agent outfielders sign and set the standards before progressing on Ordonez. One of those top-tier outfielders is Jayson Werth, whom Boras also represents.
Put it together, and the Tigers can check in about Werth while still keeping their options open on Magglio. With still around $30 million of payroll space left from the $60 million or so they shed in expiring contracts, they have the financial wiggle room for it. The Tigers have already been keeping in touch with Boras this offseason about Ordonez, and Dombrowski said after the Martinez signing that his team would regroup this week and look at their options.
Get the picture? Thus, let the Jayson Werth sweepstakes begin.
It might not be the same courtship the Tigers enjoyed with Victor Martinez, but Werth is the most logical fit among the top free-agent hitters left on the market. Even if the Tigers have every intention of trying to re-sign Ordonez, they’ve been expected to look into Werth.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark listed Detroit among the half-dozen or so teams with varying levels of interest in Werth. Foxsports.com’s Jon Morosi cited Major League sources who see the Tigers among the Red Sox and Phillies as the most serious suitors for Werth. Both reports list the Red Sox as the favorites.
No deal is expected anytime soon, which Stark confirms. The most logical plan for Werth is to wait until Carl Crawford signs, either with the Angels or elsewhere, and see how that impact other teams’ interest. Because after Crawford and Werth, Magglio is the next-highest rated outfielder on a lot of lists.
If Werth is looking for a six-year deal, as a report suggested, that could test the level of the Tigers’ interest. Detroit already has its DH spot sealed for the next four years with Martinez, so any long-term deal they add would have to be for somebody who can play the field for the vast majority of that contract. Werth has very good defensive tools for right field, including a strong arm, and has been an iron man with 315 games over the last two years for Philadelphia, but they would have to make sure he can stay healthy.
The only nontender from the Tigers today is reliever Zach Miner, whose fate was set in that regard when he was designated for assignment on Monday. Detroit will indeed tender contracts to Joel Zumaya and Armando Galarraga.