Maybe, by this time, Mike Rizzo has figured out that, regardless of what he does, someone, somewhere, will rip him a new one.
The Nationals sign Jayson Werth to a huge contract, which should've quieted that group of naysayers who love to complain that the Lerners are "cheap." Their reaction? "Oh, they never should've spent that much on a player like Werth...."
A lot of criticism is coming from out-of-town baseball writers, due largely, I expect, to the fact that none of them had Werth going to Washington. The Philadelphia baseball writers are going to town. One misquoted Rizzo as calling Werth "the centerpiece" of the ballclub. Mike called him "a" centerpiece, not "the" centerpiece, and there's a huge difference. A banquet has multiple tables and multiple centerpieces. Ryan Zimmerman is the face of this franchise, and also "a" centerpiece. A healthy Stephen Strasburg is another centerpiece, as will be (hopefully) Bryce Harper.
When you lose more than 300 games over the course of three consecutive seasons, you can't avoid being a universal symbol for futility. The Lerners, Mike Rizzo and the whole front office staff know that. Knowing it doesn't imply that they like it.
All we've heard the past few years is that Washington would "have to overpay" to attract premium free agents. When they actually do just that, they get criticized for it.
Does Jayson Werth make the Nationals a better team? Yes, by degrees. He'll need some help, obviously, and the size of his contract might impact what else they do this winter. Or maybe not.
As recently as three years ago the Tampa Bay Rays were the target of most of the barbs coming from fans and writers. How many national baseball magazines picked the Rays to win in December 2007? Zero. I had them breaking even, as did a few other scattered reporters, but win the AL East? I don't think so.
The Nationals aren't likely to contend in 2011, but 2012 could be something special. Bringing in a player of Werth's caliber in his prime - even at the price they paid - is somewhat of a coup.
Trying to turn it into a negative is a waste of time.
One more thing: Hats off to Pat Gillick for his election to the Hall of Fame. It's a shame Marvin Miller wasn't elected as well, but Gillick's resume is rock solid.
You may already know this, but when the Expos were relocated to Washington, and before Jim Bowden was hired, Gillick expressed an interest in the GM job. This was a year before he went to work for the Phillies, but someone in baseball didn't want him to have the Nationals' job, apparently.
Talk about rewriting history.