When Jayson Werth slammed a walk-off homerun to cap a dramatic come from behind win against the Nationals during the September stretch drive, the rangy right fielder gave manager Charlie Manuel a bearhug after stepping on home plate.
“When I saw Charlie I just gave him the biggest hug I could give,” Werth said. “Charlie is like that uncle you have that you always liked and looked up to and who always took care of you.
“I never was in a clubhouse like this,” Werth said. “Some guys never know that something like this exists. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to drive to work to play with guys like this. I never experienced this before with other organizations.”
One of the biggest names on the free agent circuit, Werth might never be back in the Phillies clubhouse because he may never have another opportunity to sign the type of contract that he’s angling for this off-season.
“This might be my only chance (to sign a mega-deal),” Werth said. “I’ve loved playing here but face it, we’re all pieces of meat. I have my chance to become a free agent.”
“He’s earned it,” said Phils outfielder Shane Victorino. “He’s worked so hard. He deserves whatever he gets in free agency.”
Werth, who is eligible to negotiate with any team, could get a monster deal along the lines of Matt Holliday’s seven-year, $120 million contract.
GM Ruben Amaro admitted that the Phillies, who are hardly cash-strapped, can afford to re-sign Werth but with a very high payroll (more than $143 million to 18 players), will the Phillies even attempt to ink Werth?
Werth isn’t opposed to coming back, but he didn’t hire uber agent Scott Boras for a hometown discount.
“It’s a business,” Werth said. “This is definitely not the same game I played in my grandparent’s backyard as a kid.”