Three teams show interest in Werth
At this time of year, markets shift quickly. But right now, the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers are seen as the most serious suitors for free agent outfielder Jayson Werth, according to major-league sources.
Many in the industry view Boston as the favorite to land Werth. Red Sox officials met with Werth and his agent, Scott Boras, on Wednesday, according to ESPNBoston.com.
The Los Angeles Angels also are in the market for an impact outfield bat, but they are enamored with fellow free agent Carl Crawford, sources say. It’s doubtful that they will become a serious player for Werth, unless or until Crawford signs elsewhere.
Similarly, the Texas Rangers would like to upgrade their outfield but are presently preoccupied with another free agent: Cliff Lee.
The Rangers haven’t ruled out the possibility of signing Werth or Crawford, a source said, but team officials are devoting virtually all of their attention to retaining Lee. At least for the moment.
If Lee signs with the New York Yankees, as many expect, the Rangers will reevaluate the marketplace. For that reason, it won’t be a surprise if Werth and Crawford wait until after Lee is off the board before making their decisions.
Werth, 31, flourished with the Phillies over the past four seasons — and particularly the last two, during which he averaged 32 home runs and 92 RBIs while batting .282. If Werth signs elsewhere, Philadelphia may use a platoon of Domonic Brown and Ben Francisco in right field. If that is the case, the Phillies will probably witness a dramatic drop in production at the position.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are more confident in their ability to sign Werth than Crawford, a source indicated Thursday. Detroit signed Victor Martinez away from Boston earlier this offseason, but team officials believe they need at least one more impact hitter for the outfield.
The Chicago White Sox, meanwhile, aren’t believed to be pursuing Werth. They landed their big bat when they agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract with Adam Dunn on Thursday.