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"I hate to lose. I’m here to win."

Dec 15, 2010, 10:44 PM EDT

Jayson Werth spent the last four seasons playing in as successful an environment as you can find in baseball: as one piece of a Phillies roster loaded with All-Stars that played in front of sellout crowds every night and won four straight division titles, with a World Series crown thrown in for good measure.

The curly W cap and jersey he donned today for the first time is associated with none of that. The Nationals have never posted a winning record since arriving in Washington six years ago. They’ve often played in front of half-empty stadiums. And the roster, while featuring a handful of elite players, hasn’t been awash with the kind of talent the Phillies have boasted in recent seasons.

Werth understands the challenge now staring him in the face. And he embraces it.

“I’ve been in the postseason a lot the last couple of years,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s what you play for. That’s what you work out for. That’s what you get to spring training early for. I hate to lose. I’m here to win.”

Read my full story on Werth’s arrival in D.C. on CSNwashington.com.

  1. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2010 at 10:54 PM

    Quite a few years ago, a newly-hired basketball coach walked onto the floor of Cole Field House, stomped his foot, and gave the crowd a V(ictory) sign. After that, it was off to the races. He said he would make Maryland the UCLA of the East. Jayson Werth's comments remind me of what Lefty said and did way-back-when. If he can bring that kind of attitude to the Nats and do what Lefty did for the Terps, we'll be good to go. I like this guy's attitude.fpcsteve

  2. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2010 at 11:27 PM

    Small detail: Wasn't Mike Morse #28 last year? If Werth takes 28, what's Morse's new uni number?

  3. Anonymous - Dec 15, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    38

  4. BinM - Dec 16, 2010 at 1:26 AM

    fpcsteve:Werth is just one player; Rizzo landng him is more like a college coach bringing in a key piece like Elmore to elevate the program to a respectable level first. Get to that level, then the others want to come here. Using your point-of-reference, the Nationals' version of Len Bias (the one player who really put the program 'on the map') may have been Strasburg. Toss Harper into the mix along with Werth (and one or two more FA 'transfers'), and you have the makings of a team worth watching, imo.

  5. SonnyG10 - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:12 AM

    If we can just get an upgraded first baseman, I can enjoy the rest of the off-season. One who is great on defense and can potentially hit 20 or more home runs. That coupled with Jayson's 20+ home runs could make up for the 38 home runs Adam Dunn produced. An upgrade to the starting pitching would be icing on the cake.

  6. Doc - Dec 16, 2010 at 3:13 AM

    Great inspiration from Jayson Werth. Some really good potential material for a team here.Riggleman said at the baseball meetings that he wouldn't be disappointed to see Morse at 1B. I hope that they sign Laroach over Lee, but if neither materializes, then I think that Morse will continue where he left off last season.

  7. Sjm 308 - Dec 16, 2010 at 3:32 AM

    Sonny:I agree, sign Laroche and I can sit back and enjoy the holidays. Would love to add a pitcher as well but a solid first baseman who can catch a ball thrown to him and hit 20+ homeruns would more than take care of losing Dunn. Go Nats

  8. Anonymous - Dec 16, 2010 at 4:52 AM

    Harold Reynolds was talking about the Werth deal tonight (Wed/15 December) on the MLB Network Hot Stove show. Reynolds said Werth has always been a winner, but the test is going to be playing for a team that will lose 100 games in 2011. He emphasized that it's going to be a long time before the Nationals are any good, and that Werth is going to have to get used to losing for a couple of years.A small group of people–some fans like us, the Nats' front office, and the Lerners–believe in this team. The rest of the baseball world believes the Nats have no pitching and no depth and no hope in 2011.

  9. DFL - Dec 16, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    The Nats have weak starting pitching anchored by a 38 year old who was hit hard late in 2010. They are weak at centerfield and at catcher, relying on a 40 year old at the latter position. The second baseman is a rookie who tailed off at the bat after his September call-up. So far, there is no first baseman. Perhaps instead of Derreck Lee or Adam LaRoche the Nats get stuck with Lyle Overbay or someone equally mediocre. Adam Dunn's offensive production will be missed. The Nats are very close to reverting back to a 100 loss team.

  10. Anonymous - Dec 16, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    It will be hard for the Nats to get Lyle Overbay since he has already signed with the Pirates.

  11. Bowdenball - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    Mark-From the looks of this thread it looks like a lot of people are waiting on pins and needles for something to happen with LaRoche. I'm one of them. What are you hearing from the brass? It seems like a perfect match on both sides now that the Cubs have signed Pena, so I would have thought there would be some signs of movement.

  12. Section 223 - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    I thought Phil Wood made a good point the other day. Casey Kotchman has a great glove (no hitting, though). A platoon of Kotchman and Morse might work. There aren't that many lefty starting pitchers. Morse started out as an infielder ( I didn't think he was that great in right field). Of course, I also prefer LaRoche. But, Santa has been okay so far this holdiday season. Snow is getting ready to fall and listening to Ray Charles christmas cd is making for a decent Thursday.

  13. Anonymous - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    Well, since Mike Rizzo sent me an email yesterday telling me that they would acquire more prospects and game changers (not his words but I forget exactly what they were), my guess is he has ome trades in the works. After all, we have to believe everything tha Nats say specially since they put it in writing! ;)

  14. JD - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Following this blog for the past couple of weeks makes me wonder how Adam LaRoche has managed to bounce around between teams for the past 6-8 years; he is clearly a cross between Lou Gehrig and Albert Pujols and we should rush to give him a 10 year $250 million contract. Come on folks; Adam LaRoche gets you maybe 1 extra win all year over playing Morse at first; I,m fine if we get him and I,m fine if we don't because the difference between 75 wins and 76 wins ain't that big of a deal.

  15. Anonymous - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Werth is a nice piece to have but we need the following: – a good CF (not only on the field but in the clubhouse and in interactions with fans) – 2 top starters not currently in the organization – first baseman – veteran closer – veteran infielder who can hit and play 2B and SS in case Desmond and/or Espinosa falter or get injured.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    I really get tired of people that constantly rant about deals Rizzo has to get done NOW!These transactions are not made in a VACUUM! There are many moving parts and agents, players, and other GM's are constantly trading information until someone says STOP the MUSIC and a transaction is negotiated.It's still 59 days till pitchers and catchers report and alot of people are attempting to accomplish alot of different things. Patience people.

  17. Bowdenball - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    JD-There are stats that approximate how many wins a guy gets you. LaRoche is generally between 2-3 wins a year over replacement. Morse is pretty close to replacement level- he went up to 1.4 last year, but you'd probably lose some of that if you moved him to first. Plus if you don't sign LaRoche, you lose Morse's bat as a #4 OF and backup 1B and given what's available to the Nats, you're probably looking at replacing it with below-replacement-level production. So it's fair to think that LaRoche is worth 2-3 wins a year. That's a good margin. And it could be particularly important in 2012 and 2013 if we're fighting for a wild card spot or something. With Gonzalez off the FA market for next winter, the only decent 1B left are Prince Fielder and Pujols, and I'd say Pujols is almost definitely staying in St. Louis and we'd have to fight everyone for Fielder.This is a signing that addresses a need perfectly and allows us to focus our free agent dollars elsewhere next year- say, for example, on one of the many quality 2Bs who will be available, or on a pitcher to bolster the rotation.

  18. Tcostant - Dec 16, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    A couple of things:- I like the signing and after seeing what Crawford got, I no longer think it’s crazy money.- I do think Harold Reynolds view is likely dead on, this team will lose close to 100 games in 2010 and Werth will have to deal with that. I think 2012 is more a Strasburg recover year and that contention won’t possible happen to 2013 after Strusburg is back for a year and Harper is an establish major leaguer.Now with all that said, the one thing I need to address and I would love Mark’s comment too:One thing that worries me is that this organization continually breaks common sense and does stuff to hurt baseball flexibility. In this case, it giving Werth a full no trade. That is unacceptable, when you offer an extra year at plus money. Bottom line is was gonna take the money, hold the line. If you must do a limited no trade (list of teams type thing) for the first couple of years of the contract only until is 10-5 status kicks in.We saw this before, giving Harper / Strasburg major league contracts, which hurts your Rule 5 flexibility. This culture was here before Rizzo too, weather telling Crow he would be a September call-up if he signed or putting in Detwiler contract that he had to pitch a major league inning that first year. This kind of stuff is for bad organization. Don’t you think the next guy will want a no-trade contract? Hold the line and make a decision, not to do these things. You’ll be better off in the long run.

  19. Anonymous - Dec 16, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Did anyone read that SI piece last year when Werth was with the Phils? In that article he comes across as totally introverted. He didn't exactly seem like a firey leader that you guys are making him out to be. I like the signing, but this guy 'alone' isn't going to save this sorry franchise.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 16, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Who said he was?

  21. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 16, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    And we all know the written word is so much more believable than an actual interview in the flesh.

  22. Anonymous - Dec 16, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Unfortunaely, Harold Reynolds is probably right and if we do not lose 100 games then we will likely lose more than 90 games in 2011. I hope Werth has some Paul O'Neill moments in him and he destroys a few water coolers in frustartion in order to fire up his teammates and get them out of the malaise which we have come to know all too well over the past two years especially!

  23. Section 223 - Dec 16, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Harold Reynolds? Good grief. There is no way in the world the Nats are going to loose 90 games next year. The defense is already much improved with the addition of Werth and having second and shortstop settled. Lannan and Marquis were starting to throw well at the end of the season. Zimmermann will be at full strength. And, we don't even have the team that will be going to spring training yet.

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 16, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    Anyone who has read Money Ball knows the absolute worst place to obtain your baseball information is from "talking heads".The Giants would have never been in the World Series, much less won it, Jayson Werth is in Boston, Carl Crawford is in LA with the Angels and Cliff Lee is in New York. That's why you let things play out and why they play the games.

  25. Section 223 - Dec 16, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    I wonder what record Harold suggested for the 2010 Padres.

  26. pdowdy83 - Dec 16, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Harold Reynolds is a blow hard who likes to hear himself talk. He is unfamiliar with half of the teams in baseball and just spits out things off the top of his head. I don't see how one would think that a team that didn't lose 100 games last year would lose 100 games this year after actually improving one of the worst defenses in the league significantly.Espinosa will prove a major defensive upgrade at 2nd, Werth is a plus in right and whoever they sign for 1B has to be a defensive upgrade over Dunn. Lannan should probably land somewhere around league average instead of the first half he had last season, same with Jason Marquis. That should cover the drop off that Livan will probably experience. JZimm should be able to show improvement in his game as well.I'm not saying the team is going to contend by any means but I don't see 100 losses. Maybe somewhere between 86-90 losses.

  27. sparky - Dec 16, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    Sec 223 – "There is no way in the world the Nats are going to loose 90 games next year."Really?Losing 81 games is a .500 record.If the roster stays essentially as is, you think there's "no way" we could lose 90?

  28. Section 223 - Dec 16, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    I'm saying the roster isn't going to stay the same. Money has been allocated towards a better product. I feel we can be a .500 team. The wheeling and dealing isn't finished.

  29. Anonymous8 - Dec 16, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Newest on Willingham if you believe it. http://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/15447332053065728

  30. sparky - Dec 16, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    And is Harold Reynolds supposed to assume that in his analysis? Is he supposed to say to himself and to his viewers "I'm not loving on the way the Nats look today, but I'm going to assume that Rizzo brings in a left handed guy for the middle of the lineup and a real good SP or 2, so I'm gonna determine that the Nats will be sniffing .500 ball most of the season".Makes no sense. You can make you prediction that way, Reynolds can't. So raggin' on Reynolds for not lookin' thru you Nats Colored Glasses kinda ain't fair.

  31. JD - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Bowdenball,I disagree with the premise that Morse will be at replacement level player at 1st. In fact if you look at FanGraphs closely you will see that his poor outfield play brought him down to +1.6; I expect him to be less of a negative at 1st than he was in the outfield.I know that the lineup looks problematic (too right handed) with Morse at first and I also feel that LaRoche would be a good fit but he is also being pursued by Baltimore and Toronto and I wouldn't break the bank for him.I completely agree with NatsJack on the point that the discussions here are not based on full knowledge so to the casual fan it may look that player 'X' is the only available option when in fact there are several other options which are less obvious. How do you know that Loney isn't available? How about Alonzo? Smoak?

  32. Section 223 - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    Point well taken on projecting with the team that is now in place. I still think the team that is now in place (with the exception of first base) is a .500 team.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

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