IN 2010, JAYSON WERTH had just wrapped up one of his best seasons as an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, a Major League Baseball team. That December, the thirty-one-year-old player signed a seven-year deal with the Washington Nationals for $126 million, a contract that raised some eyebrows around the league. “Makes some of our contracts look good,” quipped Sandy Alderson, general manager of the New York Mets, a team notorious for overpaying its players. “It's a long time and a lot of money.”1

Scott Boras, the agent who negotiated the deal, suggested that Werth might “provide something to the franchise in addition to his performance.” And Mike Rizzo, the general manager of the Nationals, sounded confident as ...

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