Good morning from Orlando -- we've officially just got started with the Winter Meetings, but I have to keep reminding myself it's not Tuesday. That's probably because for the Nationals, Sunday had enough action to fill up a day or two of "official" Winter Meetings time.
The entire lobby was buzzing about the Nationals' signing of former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million deal, and the general reaction was this: It's probably too much money to give Werth, who will be 32 in May, but the Nationals needed to do something to improve their reputation around baseball.
One AL executive who has worked closely with the Nationals said, "It's a good sign(ing). I'm going to call (general manager) Mike (Rizzo) and tell him it's a good sign." And two Nationals officials could barely contain their excitement about the message the deal sends to the rest of baseball. "We had to do it," one front office member said. "It could be the start of something."
Of course, Werth by himself doesn't improve the Nationals, but baseball people believe they're far from done at these Winter Meetings. They've been linked to Carl Pavano, and could pursue a reliever or two. And they'll still need to sign a first baseman.
But they've stolen the show early in Orlando, and if they can follow it up, the investment could be worthwhile.