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Did Jayson Werth actually expect the Nationals NOT to struggle in 2011?


It’s not even two months into the baseball season, and Jayson Werth has expressed his concerns regarding the Nationals’ losing ways.
Werth was rather vague Wednesday when asked to comment about his team’s seventh loss in their last eight games.

Jayson Werth photo: Mitchell Layton, Getty Images

“Good ball clubs are resilient. Good players are resilient, bounce back. I believe in these guys in here. We’ve got a great group of guys. We have a lot of talent. We just need to keep going. A lot of these guys are kind of still learning. We’ve got to make sure they continue to develop, regardless of if we’re winning or losing. I think that’s important for the future of this club. But things need to change,” Werth said to reporters last week when asked about his team's struggles.

While Werth didn’t elaborate on what really needed to change, his comments drew enough curiosity from manager Jim Riggleman to meet with Werth  and discuss exactly what he meant. While Riggleman said the meeting went well, he wouldn’t get into the details.

Forgive me if I start making sense here, but last time I checked, Jayson Werth is hitting just .255 for the Nationals with eight home runs. In a not surprising stat, he is failing miserably with runners in scoring position. The worst part of this is that Werth has raised his average 30 points over the last few weeks.

To be fair, it’s not like anyone on the Nationals ever gets on base for Werth to drive in anyway, and their franchise player Ryan Zimmerman is still out of the Nationals lineup. But the contract Werth signed comes with high expectations, and he is feeling the heat right now.

Did Werth ever take it upon himself to be a stand-up guy and throw in a “myself included” or even a “I really need to do a better job” (we've never heard that here before, have we?) when offering these anecdotes to the press?

Sure, $126 million dollars might cloud anyone’s judgment, but did Werth actually think he was going to be Washington’s savior when he signed on the dotted line? PLEASE. His numbers look awesome when you have Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in your lineup, but not so much with Roger Bernadina and Ian Desmond.

Werth played four seasons with the Phillies and the team reached the post season each year. He was the starting right fielder on their 2008 World Championship team. He does have a winning pedigree, but is he the face of a franchise? The guy you build your team around? A clubhouse leader?  My guess is more of a no than yes.

Truth be told, Werth always seemed to be the black sheep of the Phillies starting eight. He was never the most personable player and always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder. Moreover, it’s no secret that there was friction at times between Werth and the Phillies coaching staff in 2010. None of this exactly screams dynamic presence.

You can't blame Werth for taking $126 million from Washington, but this whole losing thing is a lot harder for him than he imagined.

What’s that old adage about more money and more problems?.....

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photo: Mitchell Layton- Getty Images

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