Early in 2010 the Philadelphia Eagles made what was considered at the time to have been a mind boggling trade when they sent 5-time Pro Bowl Quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a pair of draft picks. The football world went crazy and called the Birds the basement team and while they didn't anoint the Skins 2010 NFC East champs, they certainly put them in the running. After week 12 McNabb has been benched twice and the Redskins are sporting a 5-7 record and Donovan McNabb has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns (11 TD's/13 Int's). Meanwhile the Eagles sit atop the NFC East and Michael Vick has the best touchdown to interception ratio int he NFL (15 TD's/2 Int's).
Tonight, the Washington Nationals announced that they have signed Phillies Free Agent outfielder Jayson Werth to a massive contract. Werth will replace Adam Dunn but will cost the Nationals $126 million over 7 years. Werth is a career .272 hitter who has spent the last 4 seasons as a Philly where he came into his own as a starting right fielder. Werth came to the Phillies from the Dodgers in 2007 and has been an everyday starter in the lineup since 2008 when Shane Victorino went down with an injury. Werth captured a lot of attention in the 2009 and 2010 seasons after performing quite well in the 2008 World Series against Tampa Bay. Werth's worth appeared drastically over played to most Philly fans who considered him a nice player but not worth $165 million. Werth turns 32 years old this year and his numbers from last year were hardly career highs (with the exception of his doubles figure which led the league).
One can't help but wonder, is Washington getting Philadelphia's sloppy seconds when they are past their prime? The McNabb trade produced results right away as the first of the two draft picks picked up in the trade, Nate Allen, has replaced Safety Brian Dawkins in the starting lineup and has proven quite valuable. While McNabb flounders, Philly is rising and the same is likely to happen with the Phils. Werth's departure opens up the way for a trio of youngsters who otherwise would have been competing for backup positions on the 2011 roster. Domonic Brown is the Phil's top prospect and both John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Francisco have proven capable replacements for Werth. Francisco and Mayberry are both right handed bats that could replace the one lost by Werth's departure and it cannot be denied that the Phillies have a very lefty heavy lineup so that right handed bat could prove crucial in this era of pitching matchups. Could Brown, Mayberry or Francisco be the Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Phillies? Only time will tell but given the D.C. sports track record, I'd say that Nats fans should be more nervous than excited.