Player Preview: Jayson Werth
Since 2011, Jayson Werth has been a staple of the D.C. baseball franchise and he's become a familiar name when talking about the positive mental status of the clubhouse. Jayson Werth brought with him a sort of dead pan sense of humor and strong positive attitude that he has helped to instill into the clubhouse. Werth's strong personality may not have always been a good thing, most notably when sparring with managers, but it has certainly given him the ability to have an impact both on the field and off of it. Ultimately, Werth's impact on the field is only hampered by injuries he has sustained during his time in Washington. 2016 will be an interesting year to watch Jayson Werth on the field and in his dynamic with the team's new manager.
Jayson Werth's 2015 season was his 5th year in D.C. after signing the fabled $126 million contract before the 2011 season. Werth had the unfortunate luck of getting injured early on in the season after getting nailed in the wrist with a 92 mph fastball. The result of his injury was a fractured wrist and being out of action until the end of July. Prior to that, Werth had been struggling a bit at the plate regardless. In the 27 games Werth played prior to getting hit with a pitch, he was batting .208/.294/.287, well below what can be expected of the veteran outfielder. Werth was fortunate in the fact that he wasn't out for the whole season, but there were other issues he would face during the season.
Werth got back with the Nationals and into a game on July 28th, notching a hit in his first game back. Sadly the remainder of his season didn't improve a whole lot from the beginning. The remainder of Werth's season produced a slash line of .226/.305/.426. While that is still better than how the season started, that is less than what the Nationals have come to expect of him. It is entirely possible to chalk up the injury to his wrist as a contributing factor, so it'll be good to keep an eye on Werth, who is currently hitting at .273/.314/.394 in spring training. Werth had other frustrations, though. Over the course of the 2015 season, Matt Williams' failures as a manager became more and more apparent. Werth finally had the last straw in late August, when he noticed he wasn't in the lineup. He ripped the lineup card off the wall and proceeded to point out to Matt Williams that he was in fact a failure. Not one to shy away from what needed to be said, Werth's actions precluded what many knew to be coming; the firing of Matt Williams.
2016 holds a different, but familiar picture for the Nationals. A new manager, plenty of familiar faces, and a fresh start on what will hopefully be a winning season. Dusty Baker is a veteran manager and his presence could be a positive effect on the clubhouse and on Jayson Werth. Though the conflict between Werth and Williams was but the tip of the iceberg in 2015, it will be obvious if those issues are long gone at some point in 2016. If Werth is healthy and Baker doesn't annoy the whole clubhouse, the veteran right fielder could have a season that hearkens back to when he was contributing so much to the Nationals clubhouse and lineup.