You can reach into his future and get your hands all over his face for your marketing purposes. But don’t try to worm into the past and twist the relationship this team had with him in order to make him feel safe and warm in your arms.
Here are my favorite parts.
It feels almost strange, as if there ought to be a greater void felt in the Phillies’ clubhouse… Shouldn’t someone of that stature get more than a shrug and an “oh well” when his name is invoked in his old workplace? And shouldn’t it have been more of a priority to get him re-signed in the first place, before he hit free agency?
Almost every significant player on their team is in the midst of a contract of three or more years in length. But as Werth approached free agency, there was little momentum for a new deal…
Veteran Raul Ibanez has moved into Werth’s corner locker in the home clubhouse at Bright House Field. All the media attention is centered upon the Phillies’ quartet of aces, led by Lee. If Werth’s name is uttered at all, it is typically in the context of the high hopes the organization has for top prospect Domonic Brown, who will largely replace Werth in right field.
Dave Sheinin mentions several ways that the Phillies have buried their feelings for Jayson. For starters, they had Raul Ibanez move into his corner locker at the Bright House Complex, a move that spits in the face of MLB tradition, which dictates that once a player leaves a team through free agency, their former locker should be left uninhabited for a year as old teammates slowly fill it, day by day, with tokens of their favorite memories until it looks like a graduating senior girl’s last day at marching band practice.
Secondly, the Phillies have the gall to talk about their rotation instead of Jayson Werth. Let’s take a trip into the dimension of insanity in which Jayson Werth still plays for the Phillies, and yet, somehow, so does Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton. Oh, look. Mice eat cats in this dimension. Interesting. Hey, and get this–everybody’s still talking about the rotation.
These five guys cause such media-boners that the Phillies could be an entire team of returning Jayson Werth’s and you’d barely hear about it (“We didn’t want to lose Jayson so badly that we fired everyone else and cloned him to play every position,” Ruben explains, while scratching the very long beard and fingernails he inexplicably has in this dimension).
And oh yes, the real punch in the gut for Jayson (we’re back to our normal dimension now): We plan to replace him. I know, I know! I would have assumed we were just going to give up on any fly balls to right this year, too, rather than find somebody to, you know, stand out there. But the Phillies seem to think that just because they have a hot young five-tool prospect in the works, who happens to be a super fast outfielder, they need to use him. Pffft. Whatever, Phillies. Why won’t you stop doing things just to hurt Jayson Werth (Whoever that is)?
But I’m sure the Nationals will hang this Post article above Jayson’s favorite urinal and continuously point it out to him throughout the day, just so he knows that the Phillies have moved on, and any lingering positive emotions he has regarding their franchise should be shattered into a billion pieces and fed to the wind off a cliffside overlooking the sea.
Hey, it’s the same strategy that’s proven effective in junior high dating! Why shouldn’t it work in the realm of professional baseball/journalism?
Oh my god. My toaster is eating my toast. We never left that other dimension did we.