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Jayson Werth has blossomed into Nats’ leader

Mar 24, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Jayson Werth AP

The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore has a fantastic article about Jayson Werth up on the website today, looking in depth at his transition from new guy to team leader. Kilgore discusses Werth’s off-beat personality, his stern suggestions to anybody and everybody on the team, and how the right fielder changed the culture both in terms of attitude and practice.

The numerous ideas that stuck became tangible symbols of Werth’s off-field impact. In the clubhouse kitchen, no longer does a cook make whatever players ask for. A chef trained in nutrition informs players how much sodium, fat or Vitamin A they should be eating. [snip]

Werth advocated for better equipment in the weight room, and Rizzo took the requests to ownership. The Lerners bought both a single and double isokinetic activation device for $4,500. Position players use the single to build core strength. Pitchers use the double to strengthen their shoulders, one of the most important precautionary measures they can take.

The Nationals also added a long press, the barbell system Olympic weightlifters use, for $600 at Werth’s urging. They already had kettle bells weighing 55, 65 and 75 pounds. Werth persuaded them to purchase a 100-pound kettle bell for $500.

Werth missed 75 games last season due to a fractured left wrist, but he was one of the Nationals’ more productive players when he was on the field. Along with changing the clubhouse culture, the 33-year-old posted a .300/.387/.440 slash line. He is entering the third year of his seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals.

  1. proudlycanadian - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    He sure went from Werthless to a fearless leader in a short time.

    • cur68 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:21 AM

      I still don’t think he’s Werthy.

  2. natslady - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    I am not the only one speculating he will be the Nats’ future manager. Boz also thinks it could happen, after a long playing career. The idea has been percolating for a while.

    http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-player-manager-in-our-future.html

    • paperlions - Mar 24, 2013 at 8:50 PM

      If I made a list of 500 current players I thought would have a future in coaching/managing, Werth wouldn’t be anywhere on it.

  3. sfm073 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Solid player but that is still an awful contact.

    • ezthinking - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Not nearly as bad as Crawford’s.

  4. js20011041 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Am I the only one who finds this excerpt ridiculous? The Nationals are one of only 30 parts of an $8 billion industry. Why are they needing to be persuaded to provide state of the art equipment for their players? You would think that they would want to do everything they can to maximize their investment in the players. So, their $126 million player had to “persuade” them to purchase a $500 piece of equipment. Really?

    • paperlions - Mar 24, 2013 at 8:47 PM

      Not only that….shouldn’t the Nats have trainers or strength coaches that advise players on workout routines and such and that ensure the proper equipment is available?

      Having players tell you what equipment you need is like students telling the teacher which text book they should use.

    • bravojawja - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      I understand Werth had to spend his own money to buy the life-size cardboard cutout of Mark Lerner saying “You guys stink!”

  5. schmedley69 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    If you read the Washington Post article, Werth sounds more like a chronic complainer than a leader. That is one strange individual, and I don’t think he is management material, as natslady is speculating.

    • jerze2387 - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      Thats an outside perspective. It can also be viewed as a team spokesperson trying to ensure his teammates have all they need at their disposal, speaking on their behalf and looking out for theie health, while providing management with the knowledge of what is needed and what will help keep guys in peak shape.

      • kiwicricket - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        I understand that, but would he be telling some young kid to change his laces or telling Rizzo what to do if he was on a 3yr/15M contract?
        Love the ‘here to win’ ‘no nonsense’ attitude, but it has an air of superiority attached to it all due to his ridiculous contract.

    • kiwicricket - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:05 PM

      I can see both sides, but I sway slightly towards your line of thinking. Great that he speaks up about training equipment and nutrition(why he has to encourage healthy food and top-rate training equip. is incredible?)
      Great that the 10yr vet is culturing a winning environment. But would swing very quickly and turn sour if the old unproductive guy getting paid twice what he’s werth(sorry, I had to) had a bit too much to say.

      I’ve played many seasons of Cricket with older guys telling the younger guys to change their laces and crap like that. Best described as a very ‘fine line’.

      • natslady - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:44 PM

        Well, on the neon shoelaces, it was a little funny because Zach Walters is (a) from Las Vegas and (b) had said prior to that incident that his goal was to be a wallflower and not attract the attention of vets like Werth and LaRoche….

        I agree it does sometimes appear (in the article) that Werth is complaining about relatively minor stuff and that sometimes Rizzo is just sort of indulging him. But Werth was also “instrumental” (if not responsible) for Nyjer Morgan’s departure, on the grounds that Morgan didn’t take his training regimen seriously.

        You look at Davey Johnson or Buck Showalter–you just don’t know what makes a good manager before it happens. Those were both some “weird dudes” in their younger days, got fired a bunch of times, and yet here they are.

      • schmedley69 - Mar 24, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        Looks like his pleas for more shaving razors in the clubhouse have gone unanswered by management though.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      You have just made the argument that Lou Brown is a complainer as well, which I will not stand for.

      • jerze2387 - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        gotta love the major league references…

      • schmedley69 - Mar 24, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        Lou Brown gets a pass. May he rest in peace.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:52 PM

        Jason Werth had just had it with this nickel and dime crap.

  6. mp4philly - Mar 24, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Aren’t they paying him like a billion dollars? I lead my organization and for the minimal sum of 100k.

  7. bricktop02 - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Hey Kilgore you should ask Werth to marry you. Or maybe take it slow and let your bromance blossom.

    • madhatternalice - Mar 24, 2013 at 8:11 PM

      A gay joke. Topical!

      • samu0034 - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:39 AM

        I don’t really think it’s fair to turn the age old childhood saying “If you love him so much, why don’t you marry him?” into a homophobic slur. Men, women, boys, girls, that’s a pretty universally applicable phrase for giving people shit about overlooking a persons flaws in favor of the things they like. Not every phrase that involves sexuality that isn’t explicitly all-inclusive in implicitly full up on hater-ade.

      • madhatternalice - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:27 PM

        Maybe not. That would explain the first half of the “joke.” It certainly doesn’t explain why brick felt the need to continue the “joke.”

        Never mind that Kilgore has actually been a bit of a critic of Werth, starting with the contract signing.

        Whatever. you don’t see it as a homphobic slur. I do. Just because a phrase has been around for awhile doesn’t make it right to say (I still remember calling someone an Indian Giver when I was in Elementary School. I’d never say that today).

  8. beefytrout - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Wait, I’m confused…. this article goes completely against the HBT stance that leadership and intangibles are, for the most part, bullshit.

  9. djpostl - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    I applaud Werth for dong what he can in certain areas but he is getting way to much love from both Kilgore and Baer for doing what anyone SHOULD do.

    If you’re getting paid that much money to produce on the field and you aren’t doing that the very least you could do is provide some professionalism in the clubhouse.

  10. ndrick731 - Mar 24, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    If the Nats are depending on Werth for leadership on or off the field they are most likely to be the Braves of the 90’s. all the talent in the world but losers when it counts. Werth is a cancer and the longer he is around the worse the cancer will get.

  11. emauro28 - Mar 24, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    So they have a mediocre OF as the Assitant head coach and Assitant trainer? Good that he is helping all these guys but if his name was Scott Harrison would there be an article about this?

    • steelersfan3405 - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:02 AM

      Hey guess what your a loser

  12. romoscollarbone - Mar 25, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    Does anyone know what a double isokinetic activation device is? I have shoulder troubles and it piqued my interest. Google yields nothing of value for once.

  13. phillynac - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    Werth would be a terrible coach. He has an attitude where he wants to look cool at all times even at the expense of performance. I remember him getting picked off at 2nd base, while with the Phillies because he was adjusting his pants so everything looked just right. That is definitely the kind of role model I want to be a coach or manager in my organization.

    • steelersfan3405 - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:04 AM

      You love men, whoa calm down there

  14. pftbillsfan - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:06 AM

    Wow I hate to be cynical but $5100 worth of equipment? Shouldn’t they already have that? If you invest hundreds of millions in athletes, you would think your gym would already contain all the cutting edge equipment.

  15. stlouis1baseball - Mar 25, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Jayson Werth would make a terrible Manager for several reasons.
    Instead of listing all of them I will just state the following…
    “Jayson Werth would make a terrible Manager for several reasons.”

  16. dwdive - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    One of the ugliest men and contracts all rolled into 1 player! All this guy is/was/and will be, is a complainer. Not a leader, and is certainly NOT coaching or manager material.

  17. 4356gejm - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Nats will be better this year than last. Nats and Braves both will be better than the Phillies. Werth’s performance will rise as the Nats continue to improve. Phillies miss Werth in their lineup and on the field.

    These facts do not make Werth’s contract (or personality) any more agreeable. But they are the facts and we Phillies fans will have to live with them. We can load up on all the arms we want, but if we don’t score runs like we did in 2008, we will not win squat. World Series winning rotation – Myers, Hamels, Blanton, Kendrick, Moyer. We’ve improved on that, but at the expense of scoring, and voila, no longer contending. Or maybe it has to do with not being able to know what pitch is coming ahead of time . . . oops, did I just write that?

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