December 6, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Nationals sign Jayson Werth smile

Now, that's more like it! In a move that rocked the baseball world, the Washington Nationals have just signed free agent Jayson Werth to a seven-year contract werth worth $126 million. That's enormous! The Washington Post notes that the $18 million annual salary is the 13th-largest contract in baseball history. It was notable that this took place even before the winter meeting of baseball general managers began. This is a big feather in the cap for General Manager Mike Rizzo, who is trying to fill the void in the front office left by the departure of Stan Kasten. Obviously, any doubts about the Lerner family's commitment to fielding a winning baseball team have been laid to rest. For Werth, however, it's not just about the money:

"The team gave me assurances that they are going to go out and get the type of talent that we are going to need to be competitive and to win. That was one important thing that is very important to me -- winning." (

I'm not questioning that Werth is worth more than Adam Dunn, but the huge, long-term commitment does make me wonder. His durability during this past season may have been a factor; several of his Phillies team mates missed several weeks due to injuries. the Philadelphia Phillies Werth has played in two World Series, and was on the winning side in 2008. You can't beat that kind of post-season experience. He will be 38 when the contract expires.

I'm going to have to remember how to spell "Jayson" correctly from now on. And I may have to start worrying about inflated players' salaries once again... Anyway,

Welcome to Washington, Jayson Werth!

The Nationals are still looking for a first baseman to replace Adam Dunn, and they are in pursuit of the Rays' Carlos Peña, as are the Orioles and Cubs. Now all the Nationals need are a couple first-rate pitchers, and they could be in shape to break the .500 mark for the first time since they were "reborn" in Washington nearly six years ago.

Yankees sign Derek Jeter

To no one's surprise, the New York Yankees reached an agreement with veteran shortstop Derek Jeter, who will get a new three-year contract worth worth at least $51 million. It's not yet official, because Jeter must pass a physical, but it's all but done deal. See But why only three years???

The mail bag

Mike Zurawski pointed out to me that the Mets replaced the distance marker near the corner in left center field at Citi Field, with a new one located farther from the foul pole. It now says 371 feet, rather than 364. Based on the angle of the outfield wall and the distance moved (only about 20 feet), the difference should not be more than five feet, however. So, I made the necessary update to the regular version diagram, and changed the "full" version diagram to show the original (2009) layout, including the parallel bullpens. I also drew in the girders of the bridge beyond right field to make it stand out from the surrounding areas. For the record, I'm pretty sure the 415 marker to the right of center field is in the wrong position; it should be at the very deepest corner, which is currently covered by a GEICO sign. The need to accommodate commercial advertisements probably explains the discrepancies in both cases.

Leo Mui recently wrote last week to ask what my reason for including the "hypothetical" version diagram of Fenway Park, with the diamond moved to the right field corner. I originally did that several years ago, as a way to enable to Red Sox to continue playing in Boston while the upper deck was completely rebuilt and expanded, as some people were proposing. Instead, the Red Sox made a smaller-scale enlargement of the upper deck in 2006, obviating the need for massive structural replacement, rendering my suggestion moot. A few months ago, somebody remembered my idea and asked me to put that "hypothetical" version diagram back on that page, so I obliged.

Thomas Clifton wrote several weeks ago to ask where exactly the concrete "BLEACHER" sign from Crosley Field, which he has in his possession, used to be located. He is in the process of restoring the sign, which is about 5' long and 10" high. None of the photos I have are clear enough to show that sign, so if anyone knows where it was located or where a photo of it can be found, please let me know, via e-mail or blog commenting.