09/05/10 12:27 AM ET
Werth mum on free agency
By Mike Radano / Special to MLB.com
As in no comment.
ESPN baseball writer Jerry Crasnick created a stir Friday when he used his Twitter account to report that Werth had left the Beverly Hills Sports Council and agent Jeff Borris. Attempts to reach Borris were unsuccessful, and Werth brushed off the topic by repeating the word "no" several times and indicating that he had not left his representation at this time.
It should come as no surprise, however, that the Phillies' right fielder has begun researching a potential change with free agency looming after the season. This is Werth's one big chance on the open market, and simple due diligence would suggest he should explore all options at his disposal.
Werth and Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford are the top outfielders prepared to hit the market this winter. Early indications are that both will command salaries of $15 million or more per year. Werth, who the Phillies signed as a free agent on Dec. 19, 2006, has surpassed all expectations over the past four seasons.
When the Phillies signed Werth, 31, he had just lost the 2006 season to surgery on his left wrist. The gambit paid off as the outfielder has hit .281 with 88 home runs and 280 RBIs over the past three-plus seasons.
After going 1-for-4 and hitting a second-inning home run in Saturday's 5-4 victory over the Brewers, Werth is hitting .296.
Phils keep focus on winning division
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been around baseball long enough to understand the importance of September.
"It's good where we are at," Manuel said. "We have, what, 26, 27 games left? That's good.
"But we still have to win quite a few of them. We have to win some of those games."
The Phillies have won five straight and just completed their best month of the season, with an 18-10 record in August. In that time, the Phillies (78-58) have taken a three-game lead over San Francisco in the National League Wild Card race and trail Atlanta by just one game in the NL East.
In the Phillies' favor is the experience that comes with three consecutive division titles, something Manuel knows is almost, but not quite as important, as just getting into the playoffs.
"Getting in is the biggest thing," Manuel said. "But it's a big deal for us to win our division. That's all about the home-field advantage. To me, that's a bigger deal. Getting in you have a chance, but you want home field. Even though we've played well on the road, you want to be home. I think every team will tell you the same thing."
The Phillies, who have sold out 108 consecutive games at Citizens Bank, are 44-26 at home this year, and if they can overcome the Braves and Cincinnati for home-field advantage in the NL, they would likely continue that streak through this year's World Series.
Vance Worley or Nate Roberston are the most likely starters for one of the games in Monday's doubleheader against Florida. Roy Oswalt (10-13, 3.01 ERA) will start one of the two games, but a decision has not been made on which one. The Phillies also have not announced who will start the other game. ... The Phillies are 38-23 this year in games decided by two or less runs and 24-14 in one-run games, including a 16-5 mark at home. ... The Phillies have won five games this year with a score of 1-0. It's the first time they have done that since 1982, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.