Maybe Jayson Werth Isn’t Overpaid After All

There was a lot of grumbling around town when Jayson Werth left the Phillies a couple of years back to sign a $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals. Put it this way: Almost nobody in town believed he was worth the dough, and this was a town that really loved Werth during the World Series days.

So how’s that working out?

But here the Nationals are, averaging a season-crushing 3.74 runs per game. And here is Werth, the opposite of a disappointment. He is hitting .305/.374/.504 in 305 plate appearances, all in the top 15 among NL hitters with at least 300 plate appearances. With one game before the calendar flips, Werth is hitting .375/.402/.636 in July. We have just finished watching Werth’s best month as a Washington National, even as the offense around him keeps scuffling.

Health has been an issue since his rough first year in Washington, but after his rough transition season, whenever Werth has been healthy he’s been excellent. Since the start of 2012, Werth has played in 157 games taken 649 plate appearances – about the playing time of a full season. Over that span, Werth has an 132 OPS+. His last full “season,” then, would rank somewhere between most of his Phillies years and his monster 2010 season.

Well, that health part is a monster, isn’t it?

Of course, the Phillies did give out a huge contract about the same time, $125 million to Ryan Howard—whom, yes, we all love. But his health and production haven’t been so great, either. Which player would you rather be overpaying now?