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Davidoff's Baseball Insider

Philadelphia Phillies' Jayson Werth looks toward the pitcher

Philadelphia Phillies' Jayson Werth looks toward the pitcher after striking out swinging during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs. (July 18, 2010) Credit: AP

Jayson Werth didn't want to discuss anything about his reported change of representation on the verge of a lucrative free agency.

"Those are all Twittered rumors," the Phillies rightfielder told Newsday yesterday.

Technically, yes; until Werth officially comments on it and, more importantly, selects a new agent, that's all it is. But an industry source confirmed the original report of ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that Werth, 31, already has notified the Beverly Hills Sports Council that he's leaving them.

Why? The source said Werth is looking for a "fee deal." Rather than dole out the standard 5 percent commission to his agent, Werth wants to give something closer to 3 or 3.5 percent.

Werth has looked into established agents such as Scott Boras and brothers Seth and Sam Levinson, the source said, but no such high-end shop is likely to cut Werth a break. For instance, the Levinsons couldn't agree to take 3.5 percent from Werth; they're taking 5 percent from David Wright and their many other clients.

In any case, the baseball world anxiously awaits Werth's decision. At the least, he appears in line to match the four-year, $66-million deal the Mets gave Jason Bay last offseason.

Yankees in the Outfield

So who will pay Werth? The Yankees have long been rumored to want to go after Werth or Carl Crawford this winter. That, however, is not a safe bet.

Nick Swisher has secured his place in rightfield; the Yankees owe him $9 million next year and have a very reasonable $10.25- million team option on him in 2012. Curtis Granderson has picked up his play after a tough beginning. Brett Gardner has given the Yankees exactly what they desired from him in leftfield.

You never rule out anything when it comes to the Yankees, but it's clear that their top offseason priorities will be re-signing Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera (and Joe Girardi) and going after Cliff Lee to bolster the front end of the starting rotation.

Maybe they'll find an extra $50 million or $100 million under a pillow this winter, as they did two years ago when they brought in Mark Teixeira after signing CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. If that occurs, Werth would appear a better fit than Crawford because of his patience, power and righthandedness. He could provide a buffer for aging righty hitters Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

Now He Wants The Big Apple

Cory Vaughn was 8 years old, living in San Diego, when his dad came home with some huge news: He had been traded from the Padres to the Yankees.

But after giving Greg Vaughn his physical, the Yankees opted out of that 1997 trade (which would've sent Kenny Rogers and Mariano Duncan to San Diego). Cory Vaughn recalls being happy about the development.

"I liked San Diego. I was on the beach every day," Vaughn said in a recent interview. "I didn't know any different."

Now he knows. Vaughn is completing his first professional season with the Mets' Class A affiliate in Brooklyn. The Mets selected him in the fourth round of this year's amateur draft, and he entered last night's New York-Penn League game with 14 homers in 264 at-bats along with a .396 on-base percentage and .557 slugging percentage.

"I'm pleased, but I'm not content," he said. "I can be so much better in different areas, from baserunning to defense. I'm happy with the season, but it's not over yet. There are still things to do."

Rings at a Premium

If the current standings hold, the eight playoff managers will bring a combined three World Series titles (as managers) into the postseason. Atlanta's Bobby Cox, the Yankees' Joe Girardi and Philadelphia's Charlie Manuel have one each.

According to Major League Baseball's public-relations department, that would mark the lowest such total since 1999, when Joe Torre's two (at the time) and Cox's one made for three. Last year, Torre (four), Boston's Terry Francona (two), St. Louis' Tony La Russa (two), Manuel (one) and the Angels' Mike Scioscia (one) brought 10 rings with them to October.

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