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MLB Trade Rumors: Scott Lauber on Jayson Werth

After the Jason Bay contract was announced today, Scott Lauber from the News Journal wrote an article over at his blog, Philled In, where he talks about how the Jason Bay contract will affect the market for Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth next offseason.

Here is an excerpt from his article:

If Werth hasn’t been paying attention to the Bay negotiations, surely his agents have. Last season, Werth and Bay tied for the major-league lead among outfielders with 36 home runs. And although Bay drove in more runs (119 to 99), Werth had more stolen bases (20 to 13) and comparable on-base/slugging numbers (Bay: .384/.537; Werth: .373/.506). Bay is 31, Werth is 30. And while Bay has a longer track record for success, Werth is regarded as a late-bloomer given the wrist problems that nearly forced him to retire in 2006. Werth is also a superior defensive outfielder.

Bay and still-unsigned Matt Holliday are the top free-agent outfielders on the market this winter. At this point, Werth and Carl Crawford will be the best outfielders in next year’s pool, and it’s conceivable both the Yankees and Red Sox will be seeking corner-outfield help. Because of financial commitments to other players, the Phillies likely won’t be able to keep both Werth and Shane Victorino beyond 2010, and even after purging their farm system in the trades for Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, they still have an abundance of outfield prospects, including corner outfielder Domonic Brown and center fielders Anthony Gose and Tyson Gillies.

I wrote about Werth a few weeks ago here where I came to the same conclusion as Lauber does. With the contract obligations the Phillies have in the next few years-Howard around $20 million, Halladay at $20 million, Utley at $15 million, Rollins at $8 million, Polanco at $6 million and Ibanez at $10 million, the Phillies may have a difficult time signing Werth to a long term deal at Jason Bay money. And Lauber makes a good case for Werth demanding that kind of money should he be able to duplicate his 2009 season in 2010.

Fantasy owners may want to move Werth up their rankings as he is in his walk year, and hits in a hitter's park in a great lineup.

It will be interesting to see which outfielder the Phillies allow to walk: Werth or Shane Victorino?