The biggest news of Jayson Werth's introductory press conference with the Nationals was the full no-trade clause the team gave him in his seven-year, $126 million deal. But there were some other interesting points and observations from the 30-minute event, as well as few things said after the gathering. The more interesting nuggets are below:
--Werth was asked about Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies, and his first response was a quip. "I missed that in Philadelphia. What happened?" he said. But then he followed with a response that bordered on fighting words. "They got their boy back, I guess," he said. "That's fine. I like that. If you're going to be the best, you've got to beat the best. They make their plays, and we're going to make ours. I think, in the course of time, you're going to see and people are going to see the Washington Nationals are for real. We're going to play the style of baseball that is going to bring championships to this city." And in a press conference in Philadelphia, Lee told reporters he and Werth, who had become friends when they were both in Philadelphia, had talked about playing on the same team. "When he found out I wasn't coming here, he wasn't the happiest person in the world," Lee said. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo still wouldn't confirm whether he offered Lee a contract, but it's almost certain he did. "The process is the process," Rizzo said. "It's a free-market enterprise. He chose what market he wanted to go to, and we're looking forward to competing against him for years to come."
--Rizzo "there's no timetable to address" what might happen when Bryce Harper comes to the majors and the Nationals have a pair of high-profile right fielders. Werth is capable of playing center and left field, and manager Jim Riggleman said he could play center against some left-handed pitchers. Rizzo also said Harper will take some balls in center field, in addition to playing right field in the minors.
--Asked if Werth gave him instructions to give the Phillies a discount if they got close to his other offers, Boras joked, "What was that word? The D word. I'm not familiar with that one."
--While he said it's important to have righty-lefty balance in the lineup, Rizzo said he thinks "it's less important if you're right-handed dominant than if you're left-handed dominant." Manager Jim Riggleman talked along those same lines, saying the Nationals would look more at a player's splits against right-handed pitching than if they were left-handed. Obviously, this applies to the Nationals' need for a first baseman, and if you're curious, Derrek Lee is a .280 career hitter against righties, and hit .256 against them last year (he's hit .305 in his career and .270 last year against lefties). Rizzo said he views Michael Morse as a fallback plan at first base, but said again he would prefer an external solution at first base.
--Asked how he answers critics that say he gave Werth too much money, over too long of a timeframe, Rizzo said, "I don't answer. I sleep like a baby knowing that we got Jayson Werth."
More to come.