A shoulder injury kept Jayson Werth out for five games in August of last year. It's threatening to keep him out for longer in 2015.
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Werth is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder Friday, a procedure that will sideline him for two-to-three months. The surgery puts Werth's availability for Opening Day in serious question.
“I’ve been dealing with this issue since I banged my shoulder on the fence in August, if you remember I received two cortisone shots during the season for this issue,” Werth said in an email to the Washington Post. “There was hope that it would heal with time and treatment, I pretty much did everything legally possible to not have surgery but in the end surgery was the best course of action with the 2015 season and beyond in mind.”
The timing is unfortunate, but Werth said none of the "major shoulder tissue," rotator cuff or labrum have been harmed, so it doesn't seem like something that could mushroom into a larger issue. The surgery was compared to the one Ryan Zimmerman underwent in October 2012.
If Werth misses part of the regular season, it could open the door for a player like Michael Taylor to show what he can do. The 23-year-old Taylor batted .304/.390/.526 with 23 home runs and 37 stolen bases between Double-A and Triple-A last season. His look may not be long -- even if Werth takes the full three months, he should be back by the middle of April -- but in a deep and powerful lineup like the Nationals' Taylor could pitch in a counting stats while in the lineup.
Perhaps the biggest winners, though, are opportunistic fantasy owners who target Werth. Players often get overly penalized for getting late starts to the season -- Cole Hamels in 2014 is a perfect example -- but the value often outweighs the few weeks an owner has to make due without a star. If Werth falls too far down draft boards for fear of missed time, smart owners will pounce.
Cards looking at starter options
On the surface, the Cardinals' starting rotation appears set.
The club has Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez penciled into the rotation, with Jaime Garcia, Marco Gonzales and Tyler Lyons among their options in the event of injury or ineffectiveness. But even with their perceived depth, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported Wednesday that the team is consider a trio of frontline starters to add to their roster.
The reporters named David Price, Cole Hamels and Max Scherzer as players the club is thinking about acquiring via trade or, in Scherzer's case, in free agency. While all three are in play, Rosenthal and Morosi said a deal for any of the three is nowhere close to fruition.
Scherzer is the only one who wouldn't cost the club players as well as money. The issue for the team, then, is that he would cost a lot of money. Scherzer's agent, Scott Boras, is said to be asking for a deal near $200 million for his client. The Cardinals aren't likely to get any sort of hometown discount, either, despite Scherzer's St. Louis roots.
Price is a free agent following the 2015 season, and dealing him would free up the Tigers to pursue a reunion with Scherzer. Hamels is signed through 2018, and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro's price has been high on the southpaw.
Bucs, Kang Expected to Agree
The Pirates recently won the right to negotiate exclusively with Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, and Kang's agent, Alan Nero, believes a deal will get done.
"At this point, I feel confident we’ll come to an agreement," Nero told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The process has been very positive. [Pirates GM Neal Huntington] has tried very hard to basically come to the table with an offer."
The two sides have roughly two more weeks before the negotiating window closes. If the club can sign the 27-year-old, he would likely challenge Jordy Mercer for the starting shortstop job in Pittsburgh.
Quick Hits: Garrett Richards (knee) will begin running on a de-weighted treadmill on Monday. The running is the next step in Richards' recovery from a torn patellar tendon in his left knee in August, and he's expected back by sometime in May at the earliest ... The Yankees and Red Sox are the "heavy favorites" to sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada when he's cleared to sign. Moncada, 19, needs to be cleared by the OFAC before signing with a club, and he's expected to command somewhere between $30 and $40 million ... Talks between the Orioles and free agent Colby Rasmus are "gaining steam," according to a report. Rasmus would fill one of the holes left when outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis left via free agency earlier in the offseason ... Japanese infielder Takashi Toritani flirted with the idea of coming to MLB, but in the end he's decided to re-sign with his Japanese team, the Hanshin Tigers. The Padres and Blue Jays were two clubs believed to have interest in the 33-year-old prior to his re-signing ... The White Sox finalized their one-year, $4 million contract with Emilio Bonifacio. The 29-year-old will likely serve as the starting second baseman for the Sox ... Matt Harrison (back) threw a baseball Wednesday for the first time since last May, making 30 throws from a distance of 30 feet, 25 throws from 40 feet, and finishing with 10 throws from 30 feet. Whether, and how soon, Harrison will contribute to the Rangers in 2015 is still in question ... Gaby Sanchez has signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Japanese team Rakuten Golden Eagles. Sanchez was non-tendered by the Pirates in December ... Brandon Beachy is expected to sign by the end of the week, but the Rangers won't be the team signing him. As many as six other clubs are believed to be in the running for the right-hander.