Werth willing to wait on contract talks
Phillies outfielder open to extension, likely after season
SAN FRANCISCO -- If Jayson Werth is concerned about his impending free agency, he does not sound like it.He said Tuesday at AT&T Park that he is "not worried about the situation," following comments from his agent to CSNPhilly.com that, while he would not rule out the possibility of Werth signing a contract extension with the Phillies, "it would appear right now we're at an impasse." A spokesman for Beverly Hills Sports Council, which represents Werth, said Tuesday that Werth's agent, Jeff Borris, stood by his comments. Asked if he has a feeling either way about an extension with the Phillies, Werth said, "I think it's too early." But he also said he does not expect anything to happen until after the season. "For me to sign something now on what's happened statistically or what's taken place may not be as beneficial to all parties involved, including myself, instead of waiting until the end of the season to find out potentially really who I am," Werth said. "I've had one full season. For me to take something now would be doing something on inconclusive evidence." Werth has had one season as an everyday player, which came last year when he hit .268 with 36 home runs, 99 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and 98 runs scored. His .506 slugging percentage ranked 20th in the National League. His .373 on-base percentage ranked 23rd. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel chose him to replace Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran on the National League All-Star team. He played great defense in right field. Werth said the Phillies also probably would like to see him perform at a high level for another season, although he does not know their thinking. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. declined comment, but players like Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, who signed multiyear contracts in the offseason, have a longer track record than Werth. The Phillies certainly are aware of this and are likely to bring that up if Borris asks for a contract similar to Holliday's seven-year, $120 million extension with the St. Louis Cardinals. "Of course, I would like to be back, but it's not that easy," Werth said. "I'm not other people. I'm not Ryan [Howard]. I'm not Jason Bay. I'm not Matt Holliday. I'm just not. We're dealing with a specific situation and due diligence will be taken and hopefully I'll be in Philly. I love it here. But this is also a very big part of my life career-wise and in the end this is very much a business. It is what it is. I'm here to do my job and after that we'll work all that out as we go." For all those reasons, Werth said any contract likely would be signed after the season. "But I'm not ruling anything out," he quickly added. "We could sit down and talk tomorrow and the thing could be done on the flight home. I don't know. Ruben might pull up a chair and get it done. I don't know. I just think it's a situation that as time goes on we'll know more. It's a different situation, I think, than most people realize with a lot of ifs, ands and buts. Hopefully it'll all work out, but I'm focused on playing baseball and coming to the park every day and being the type of player I've always wanted to be and I feel like I can be. If doing that gets me out of Philadelphia at the end of the day, we'll have to deal with that. But I feel like we're a long way away from that. "I'm getting paid to do a job this season and I plan on doing that. And hopefully I'll help this team win another World Series. But past that, I'm not going to sit around and dwell on what may or may not happen. I'm just not. As hard as that might be for people to understand, it's just not what I sit around and think about or talk about. I feel like if I do that, I'm going to get away from what's gotten me here and what's put me in this situation. And really in the end, I'm still a season away from being in this situation."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.