Live: Jayson Werth meets the media at Nationals Park
Watch the Nationals' 1 p.m. press conference featuring Jayson Werth live here, watch below or keep refreshing this post as I do a very rough, live transcript of his comments. Adam Kilgore will have more on Nationals Journal.
Ted Lerner is in the house, as is Jayson Werth. One has a soul patch, no beard. Guess which.
Manager Jim Riggleman, Mike Rizzo, Werth and his agent, Scott Boras, are at the table.
Rizzo: It's my honor to express my joy at the acquisition of such a fine player. He was a player that our front office and ownership identified early as ... a player who would help us long-term and short-term.
Werth puts on No. 28 and is asked to spin for the cameras.
Werth: One thing I saw with the Nationals team the last few seasons, competing against them, is a grittiness and a willingness to win. They have some talent. It's very young and unpolished. ... I look forward to working with them.
On the seven-year deal: Over the course of my career I've played with guys who've played into their 40s and seen the kinds of things you need to do to keep yourself in shape. My grandfather played 19 years...I think I have a long career ahead...definitely into my 40s.
On fitting in with Nats' lineup: It's a talented young group. It's a young group, but I see it coming together very well. Right now the team is a lot better than people think. ... I think we're going to surprise a lot of people.
On being the leader: I look forward to it. I've been playing this game a long time. I've played in the World Series and postseason. You play it one day at a time. ... The one thing I can control is the level of intensity and willingness to play the game on a day in, day out basis. ... Just a little polish here, a little polish there and I think we're gonna be good.
On familiarity with the division and Nats Park: I've always said this is a great place to hit. I've always said this is a great division to hit in. I know the parks. I know the pitchers.
On the Lerners: They're on board for winning. They're a winning family. ... I foresee them getting the guys who are really going to help them get to the next level.
On his reaction to what's going on in Philly (signing of Cliff Lee): I missed that in Philly. What happened? [Deadpan delivery is solid.]
On Nats' selling point: If you do have a family and kids, it's really hard to have normalcy. That's one thing that i was able to obtain. The length of the contract ... the owners ... [were drawing cards]. The type of talent they have, in the minor leagues...I'm excited to be here.
On Riggleman: I had the chance to be with Jim in LA in '04 and I think he'd say that I'm not much different than I am now. But things change, things happen. ... I had a chance to get back to where I am today.
Riggleman: [In '04] he was a tall, thin kid. He signed as a catcher, he signed to catch and play left field. That's the kind of athleticism he has. ... I used to joke that if you bumped into him you'd hurt yourself. He's taken care of himself. He's in great shape.
Back to Werth, who was asked about being with a winner in Philadelphia and coming to the Nats: The young talent in this organization is immense. With the length of the contract I got, I felt good about this. ... I've been in the postseason a lot the last few years. That's what you play for, what you get to spring training early for. I hate to lose, that's for sure. I don't want to say anything bad about Philly. Look at last year, we had the best record and we didn't win. Nothing's guaranteed. We've got a good scrappy team. You go out there and take your chances.
On his awareness of DC sports besides baseball (he attended the Wizards-Lakers game Tuesday night): The last few years I've played here and I've got a pretty good idea about what's going on here. It's a pretty good sports town. The Caps are doing pretty good [at] filling the seats. You put together a good product and the fans are going to show up to support it. ... It's going to be an exciting time for the city and the organization and players.
On his age (31), ability and confidence: The more I play, the better I'm going to get. I think seeing pitches is an important part of the game. The more you see the better you get. ...
Rizzo: This is the package we were looking for going into the offseason. We wanted to get better-skilled players on both sides of the ball, offensively, defensively, pitching. ... The bigger the game, the better he's played in his career. ... He brings an edge to the ballclub. I've seen it too many times with the Phillies. I think that's what separated him as far as the elite players we were looking at. [His skillset] as well as makeup, persona, the way he plays on a superstar-skill level and still plays like a guy not afraid to get his jersey dirty and would run through a wall for you.
Back to Werth, who was asked again about Philly and Lee: I've definitely moved on. I'm excited about being a National. The news in Philadelphia, they got their boy back. [Which sets Philadelphia up as a frontrunner.] If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best. They're gonna make their plays and we're gonna make ours. Over time, people are going to see that the Washington Nationals are for real.
I'm definitely appreciative. I can't thank the Lerner family and the organization enough. I've finally got the situation I've played my whole life for.
| December 15, 2010; 12:48 PM ET
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