Whoa! Jayson Werth signs with Nationals for 7 years, $126 million

David Brown

Scott Boras, you've done it again.

On the eve of baseball's Winter Meetings, the super agent jumped in and worked a seven-year, $126-million deal for free-agent client Jayson Werth(notes) and the Washington Nationals.

That's also, more or less, what fellow Boras clients Matt Holliday(notes) and Barry Zito(notes) make.

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported it first.

It's not so much the $18 million-per-season outlay that's shocking, but it's the length of the deal — Werth (pictured) turns 32 in May — along with the destination. Washington, unlike the front-running Philadelphia Phillies, tends to finish at the bottom of the NL East.

[Related: Details emerge about Jeter's new contract with the Yankees]

The Nats are seen as a team on the rise, but — with Stephen Strasburg(notes) out for the 2011 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery and super prospect Bryce Harper barely old enough to vote — Washington doesn't seem on the verge of contending.

General manager Mike Rizzo, though, certainly found a replacement for Adam Dunn(notes).

As for Werth, getting the best deal obviously was paramount. Contending? Yeah, maybe in a couple of years.

And, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, other MLB executives are livid about what Werth's deal means for the league's salary structure.

What will Carl Crawford(notes) command, for example, and how can his contract span any less than eight years?

[Rewind: Football star debates cashing $21 million check]

News of the deal also comes as a bummer for the Phillies, who won't get the Nationals' top draft pick — No. 3 overall — as compensation because it's too high and thus protected. Instead, Philly gets a supplemental pick for one of its top players the past several seasons.

And so the Boston Red Sox have missed out — for now — on getting Adrian Gonzalez(notes) and Werth. Theo Epstein is being conservative, so far, with payroll. But he might be a pound foolish by not going the extra step with either slugger.

After all, folks were fretting 20 years ago when Kirby Puckett got $3 million a year. In five years, $18 million a season might seem reasonable.

Then again, it's hard to imagine a 38-year-old Jayson Werth putting up $18 million of production.

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave

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