Quotable: Could Both Lee and Werth Have Been Phillies?

Quotable: Could Both Lee and Werth Have Been Phillies?

Jayson Werth thinks so. The right fielder arrived at spring training today, joining his new Washington Nationals teammates for the first time since signing a $126 million, seven-year contract in December. Even as reality sets in, and he has to actually play baseball for the Nats, Werth still seems to believe the Phillies could have retained his services, while simultaneously making a play for Cliff Lee. And is he taking a hack at Fightins management here? Via High Cheese:

“I think if they would have played it right they would have had us both. I mean, they traded Cliff away for prospects and then realized that was probably not what they should have done."

“They ended up paying him a lot more than they would have if they’d signed him the year before. Then we would have had him. Chances are if they had signed him before they traded him, it probably would have made it a little easier to sign me.”

So before the jump, Werth probably isn't saying anything too outrageous. The majority of fans and observers felt trading Lee was a mistake at the time. You could argue everything worked out just fine, or in fact better this way. You could argue they didn't win the World Series last season, and going outside the organization's philosophy to bring Lee back was telling. Either way, that's resolved now.

Werth's insistance all those shenanigans had a role to play in the Phillies' inability to have both players is a little harder to swallow.

First of all, keep in mind Cliff Lee took a lesser offer for the chance to don the red pinstripes again. Werth did the exact opposite, taking the largest offer on the table. It wasn't merely a question of money ether, it was years. Offers from both Philadelphia and Boston were reportedly comparable in average salary, but neither club was willing to give the 31-year-old seven years.

Now is he maybe suggesting had there been some inclanation Lee would be a Phillie in 2011, Werth would have been more receptive to a shorter deal? Oh, wait. Asked whether he was surprised by the signing, Werth responded:

“Not really. I had an inside edge.”

“I kind of knew it was always a possibility and I kind of felt it was going to be one or the other. At that point. When it wasn’t me, and what they were talking to me about in terms of years, it kind of made it seem like they were playing us off against each other a little bit.

In other words, the Phillies could have both Lee and Werth... had they simply caved to Werth's demands.

There is absolutely no indication from those remarks that the presence of Cliff would have made any impact in the number of years Jayson Werth asked for. Even if the Phils could have signed Lee for less back in 2009, a suspect claim to begin with, pure dollars and cents never really appeared to be at the heart of the issue in the first place.

It sounds like sour grapes from Werth as he gets set for a year of tedium in D.C., while Cliff Lee and the rest of the Phillies are once again being treated like rock stars, heading into another season where they are the clear National League favorites. Just don't tell him that.

“Hard feelings? No. It’s a business."

>> Werth: Phillies could have had me and Lee [High Cheese]
AP photo

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

Best of NHL: Patrick Kane hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Coyotes

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.

Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.

Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.

Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game (see full recap).

Rangers outlast Maple Leafs in shootout
TORONTO -- Mika Zibanejad scored the shootout winner and the New York Rangers continued a strong February with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves and J.T. Miller scored the game-tying goal in the third period for the Rangers, who improved to 8-1-1 this month.

New York moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points.

Connor Brown scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-7 in shootouts this season. Frederik Andersen had a stellar performance in defeat with 37 saves.

The Leafs hold the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division (68 points), two points back of Ottawa (70) and four back of Montreal (see full recap).

Islanders shut out Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored in the first period, Thomas Greiss made 24 saves, and the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 Thursday night.

Anders Lee scored in the second period and John Tavares added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the Islanders' third straight win. New York has won the first two games on a crucial nine-game road swing and improved to 12-4-2 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano.

Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had two assists, and Greiss got his third shutout of the season.

Carey Price finished with 21 saves as the Canadiens lost coach Claude Julien's 1,000th NHL game. Montreal is 1-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien last week and has totaled just 14 goals while going 2-7-1 in the last 10 games, including four shutouts (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

Best of NBA: Rockets crush Pelicans to spoil Cousins' debut

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists (see full recap).

LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Knicks
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James recorded his 48th career triple-double and Kyrie Irving scored 23 points, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 119-104 victory over the New York Knicks, who hung on to superstar Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose at Thursday's trade deadline.

James scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds with 15 assists for his sixth triple-double of the season.

Anthony, the subject of trade rumors because of a strained relationship with Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson, scored 20 points, going 9 of 25 from the field.

Kyle Korver scored 20 points for Cleveland, which is 8-1 in February and has beaten New York 10 straight times.

Courtney Lee had 25 points for New York, which has lost six of seven and is 12th in the Eastern Conference playoff race (see full recap).

Pistons rally from 18 down to beat Hornets in OT
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter during a pulsating Detroit rally, and the Pistons outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 114-108 in overtime Thursday night.

Caldwell-Pope scored Detroit's last 11 points of regulation, and his 3-pointer with 18.2 seconds to play tied the game at 100. Kemba Walker scored Charlotte's final nine points of the fourth, but the Pistons forced him to give up the ball on the last possession, and Marco Belinelli missed a 3-pointer that could have won it.

Detroit, which was behind by 18 in the third quarter, never trailed in the overtime. Caldwell-Pope's 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining put the Pistons up 110-102.

Charlotte led 85-70 at the start of the fourth but missed 14 of its first 15 shots in the period, enabling Detroit to cut into the lead.

Walker scored 34 points. Tobias Harris had 25 for the Pistons (see full recap).