Phillies seem ready to move on without Jayson Werth

Posted: November 19, 2010

ORLANDO - Ruben Amaro Jr. left the general managers' meetings Thursday without making any significant news.

The off-season process is young, so there's no reason to sound any sirens or file a grievance with the complaints department.

"We had some productive discussions with some agents on free agents and with other clubs" about trades, the Phillies' general manager said.

Though Amaro never spoke specifically about negotiations with Jayson Werth's agent Scott Boras, he did send another signal that the Phillies are ready to move on without their free-agent rightfielder, even talking about him in the past tense at times.

"I'm not going to discuss Jayson Werth," Amaro said. "I talked to Scott about a bunch of his free agents."

Amaro, however, did bring Werth into the discussion when asked about leftfielder Raul Ibanez' 2010 season.

Ibanez "was still a pretty productive player and . . . his numbers are not all that different from Jayson's last year," he said. "What did [Ibanez] have, 83 RBIs? Jayson had 85. [Ibanez] didn't have as many opportunities as Jayson did to drive in runs.

"Clearly, Jayson had more runs scored [106 for Werth and 75 for Ibanez] and his on-base percentage and stuff were better, but [Ibanez] had 37 doubles and five triples. . . . The difference in their production was not all that great."

By talking up Ibanez - most likely in an effort to increase the leftfielder's trade value - Amaro, consciously or not, devalued Werth's contributions to the team last season. For the record, Ibanez batted .275 with 16 home runs and 83 RBIs. Werth hit .296 with 27 home runs and 85 RBIs. He had 46 doubles and two triples.

The 31-year-old Werth is seven years younger and a superior outfielder to Ibanez. He is also a righthanded hitter, a commodity the Phillies will sorely need if, as expected, Werth signs elsewhere.

Amaro's point that Ibanez was more productive in RBI situations is a valid one, although both men had about the same amount of opportunities to hit with runners in scoring position. In 185 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Ibanez batted .304 with 64 RBIs, and in 190 plate appearances, Werth batted .186 with 51 RBIs.

Regardless of the debate, it appears as if the Phillies will replace Werth in right field next season, with the most likely option being rookie Domonic Brown, who is playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

Brown "has got a chance, based on what we've seen, to be pretty impactful at the major-league level as he continues to grow," Amaro said. "That's important to us because we're going to need younger players to produce because our older players are starting to get older."

Amaro said Brown's performance with Escogido in winter ball will not influence what kind of righthanded bat the Phillies pursue this off-season.

"More than anything, it's about the type of outfielder," Amaro said. "We're trying to get a little more righthanded. We're cognizant of that. A lot of it depends on what type of player is available. We'd like to have someone who can play center field. That's one of the benefits of what Jayson did. Whether that becomes Ben [Francisco] or [John] Mayberry, it's something we have to be cognizant of. Centerfielders don't fall off trees. We might also consider having [Wilson] Valdez play a little outfield. Charlie [Manuel] has talked about him."

The roster. Teams must finalize their 40-man rosters by Friday. Amaro said the team would have one more meeting Friday morning to discuss the roster because "we are going to have some good debates on a couple guys on which way we want to go on them." As of Thursday, the roster was at 35 players.

Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or

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