Nationals Baseball: Leave Jayson Werth Alone!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Leave Jayson Werth Alone!

First off Yay Lannan! I've got to get some sort of pro-Lannan graphic going here.

Jayson Werth is an easy target right now. This past off-season he got paid a lot more than he was worth, for a lot longer than he should have been. He had a hideous first month of baseball. A week or so ago he mouthed off in frustration at the team. That's a lot for a guy that's only played 50 games as a Nat.

Because of that, people are taking potshots at Jayson. I can buy saying he should keep his mouth shut about things until he's proven himself here. If you're going to say stuff you either do it right away (and hope you start hot) or after you've shown that you can carry the team, not after a few hot weeks. But other people have gone further. He's not a leader. He doesn't talk to the media like he should. He's overrated. Stop. Shut up about Jayson's "intangibles". And frankly it's time to take another look at his numbers.

First off, anyone who thought Jayson Werth would play to his contract, which would make him overrated, is an idiot. That was a career year, at the age of 31. Chances are... let me see... carry the one... a million-billionty to one that we see that Jayson for the length of the contract. In fact, I'd say the odds are better than not that we never see that Jayson again. The contract (for some reason) wasn't about duplicating that performance.

Secondly, Jayson's numbers right now, .255 / .342 / .435 seem bad in two contexts. In light of the awesome line he put up last year (which again - will never happen again) and in light of the numbers we've come to expect in baseball the past two years. Those too, are gone. The bats have been on a steady decline since 2006 and a rapid one since 2009. In 2009 the average line in the NL was .259 / .331 / .409. So far in 2011 it stands at .251 / .319 /.386. Debate the reasons all you want, the point is that Jayson might be hitting worse, but so is the whole league. His OPS+ when factoring in league numbers and park effects is 115. In 2007 and 2008 it was 120 and 121. In 2009 it was 129. He's basically a hot week from being as useful offensively to the Nats so far in 2011 as he was to the Phillies from '07-'09.

Thirdly, that is of course taking into account that terrible start. Jayson's May numbers were .287 /.364 /.455 for an adjusted OPS of 130. Unless you were an pie-in-the-sky optimist, Jayson in May provided exactly as much offense as you hoped for.

Jayson Werth has not been a hero for this team, but he's been nearly as good as any reasonable person could have expected. There are reasons this team is losing, but this guy performing better than average is not one of them. What he is though is a bigger and better target in comparison to Ian Desmond, Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, and whichever jabroni is playing 3rd while Zimmerman sits.


Hoo said...

A lot of words saying "Don't blame Werth, Blame Rizzo".

When Werth signed that contract, he had to know that expectations of him would rise. You get paid like a mega-star, you have to produce like a mega-star or fans turns on you. Sure the idiot is the organization, but fans can't scream at Rizzo every few innings.

Hoo said...

I'm not worried about Werth. For most of the first 50 games, he was the only bat to concern a pitcher. Batting in front of the one-armed LaRoche is tough. The latter half will be more indicative when Zim returns and you have a real 3-5 set.

Harper said...

Hoo - Agreed. It's fine for me to say "leave Jayson alone" God knows Jayson better not say it when he's getting paid what he is.

I do think though Rizzo should come out at the top of the 2nd, 5th, and 8th for fans that wish to boo him. Take it like a man! (and really they shouldn't boo - but if they want to)

Hoo said...

Rizzo should come out in the 8th inning of Sept, 2017 to celebrate the ending of the contract. If Nats are winners, huge applause. If not, we'll see how loud all 300 diehard fans can be!

I'd be more charitable if Corey Brown/Cutter were hitting a combined .450. Nats don't have that much MLB talent and to squander if for crappy org filler and a middle reliever takes shine off the Ramos/Gorzo deals.

bdrube said...

I look at it this way, since the Nats didn't raise ticket prices this year, why should I really care what Werth is getting paid? I'm much more exorcised about the continued presence on the roster of a certain 43-year-old veteran who isn't hitting an 8-year-old's weight.

Lumbee said...

I have no problems with Werth's performance. He's played a lot better since the slump. His complaining is what bothered me. He knew what he was getting into when he signed with the Nationals. He knew that this squad would struggle to finish close to the .500 mark. If he wanted to be on a team that competed for the playoffs this year he should've taken a pay cut and played somewhere else. He chose to take the big contract, though. Now he has to be patient and wait for this team to develop, just like all the fans in Washington have been.

Anonymous said...

I think Werth deserves at least some of the abuse he is getting. Saying his numbers are slightly above average for the NL is sad when you throw in all the SS, 2nd, and Cs in the league.

Although last year is way above average, his year isn't what he is capable of.

Harper said...

Hoo - lousy trades so far but I'm not going to complain about a 50% success rate. Really if Ramos can stick around and be above ave that makes up for a lot.

bdrube - Seems a bit heavy but I'm going to trust you on that weight thing. America is getting fatter.

Lumbee - no argument. Werth has put himself in a position where he can't say anything unless he is truly leading the team on the field. Anything else will always boil down to that contract.

Anon - agreed he can do better, but...well the rest has become another post. How about that?