Phillies touch base with Boras on Werth
Free-agent outfielder unlikely to return to club next season
PHILADELPHIA -- General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday the Phillies would call Scott Boras before the end of the week.
"There's really not much to say," Amaro said Friday about a potential contract for Jayson Werth. "We're not going to have a public discussion with what's happening with Jayson, but we have touched base and we'll see where it goes from here."
Amaro declined to characterize the discussions any further.
It has been speculated that Boras, whom Werth hired as his agent last month, could seek a contract in the neighborhood of the seven-year, $120 million contract outfielder Matt Holliday signed last winter with the St. Louis Cardinals. If Boras cannot land that, Werth could fall somewhere in line with the four-year, $66 million contract outfielder Jason Bay signed last winter with the New York Mets.
Either way, it is believed Werth will not be back with Philadelphia in 2011. The Phillies have nearly $145 million committed to 16 players next season, and Amaro said during Monday's news conference he needs to inject some youth into the roster. With every other starting position player under contract and expected back, the only place the Phillies could get younger in the lineup is right field.
Werth should be in demand. He had a combined OPS of .889 over the past three seasons, which ranked 10th in baseball for right-handed hitters. His 87 home runs during that span ranked eighth among right-handed hitters, and second among right-handed-hitting outfielders.
Only Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun hit more, with 94.
Werth also stole 53 bases and played good defense.
The Phillies have exclusive negotiating rights with Werth until five days after the World Series, but it is almost a certainty there will be no agreement before then. Boras certainly will test Werth's value on the open market.
In other Phillies-related news, former hitting coach Milt Thompson interviewed Thursday for the same job with the Seattle Mariners, according to his agent, Burton Rocks.
Thompson was hitting coach with the Phillies from 2005 through July '10. Philadelphia finished first or second in the National League in scoring from '05-'09. The team dismissed him in July because the Phillies were struggling offensively.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.