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Posted at 10:23 AM ET, 12/16/2010

More on Jayson Werth: His new role, his impact and his beard

By Adam Kilgore

Before the introduction of Jayson Werth becomes completely stale news, I wanted to empty out the notebook with a few more nuggets from yesterday. But if you have time this morning to read just one piece, then do read Boz's column on the dynamic between the Lerners and Mike Rizzo. Boz is throwing 102 today in the birdcage liner. Here are a few changeups leftover from yesterday:

>> Many of the questions Werth fielded yesterday centered around the notion that he must accept a new role as The Man in Washington's lineup and its clubhouse. There are a few problems with that point to begin with. One, Ryan Zimmerman is still the best player on the Nationals. Two, as Manager Jim Riggleman has pointed out a few times, Werth carried the Phillies last year as Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins fought injuries. And three, the importance of lineup protection is up for debate.

But anyway, Werth had to address that line of questioning. And there is no question that from a marketing, off-the-field standpoint, Werth will be leaned on here more than he was in Philadelphia.

"The good thing is that I'm coming from a place where I got to see true professionals do that," Werth said. "Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins. I had some learning, you could say, in how to be that guy. But Ryan Zimmerman is that guy. ... I'm sure there will be other opportunities in other areas. And I will approach them as they come along. But, really, I'm here to try to win."

>> If the Nationals wanted to change their perception among future free agents, then according to Scott Boras, a major proponent of those free agents, it worked. General Manager Mike Rizzo felt signing Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were more important attention-grabbers in the baseball industry. But Boras said Werth's signing improved their standing among players, convincing them they're serious about competing.

"When they take steps like this, it certainly is a little more believable," Boras said. "The first thing players -- and I represent a lot of them -- the first thing they all asked me when Jayson signed was, 'Oh, so Washington is stepping up? They're taking those steps? They're ready to win now?' All those things. In the player community, when you gain that of street cred, you have taken a huge step as far as what players will look at your organization and how they look at it differently."

>> First thing's last: Jayson Werth's shorn beard. He didn't actually shave it based on any kind of Nationals policy. In fact, Werth had already lopped it off in mid-November, by the time Rizzo and the Lerners met Werth out in California.

"We never addressed the facial-hair policy," Rizzo said. "That's a manager-player situation. When I met with him out in California, he was clean-shaven. I think he called it his playoff beard, anyway. Hopefully he has to grow one soon."

In the meantime, he'll continue to look alarmingly like the WWE wrestler Edge.

edge.jpg

By Adam Kilgore  | December 16, 2010; 10:23 AM ET
 
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Next: UPDATED: Nationals agree to trade Josh Willingham to Athletics

Comments

They have to turn this place into an inviting environment for next year's FAs, and that effort starts NOW. Want to get to Phase 2? Use the resources you have to improve the starting rotation via trade.

And I hope Mr. Werth uses his leadership and status to change the clubhouse food selection.

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 16, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I think Willingham might be gone as soon as today. Daric Barton as the Nats' 1B? Might happen.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 16, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Great stories from Boz and AK in the hard copy ed. Nice to see BB on front page in December. I had to lol at the grandkid's present to Uncle Teddy with "Cheap" and "Dumb" being the only options on the owner's meter. I surely do hope Phase 2 results in a new 1B and SP soon, though, or he will be accused of being both cheap (for not signing other FA) and dumb (for the Werth contract if he doesn't get at least 2 other critical pieces to go with it).

Not that anyone we know would say that here, of course.

Posted by: NatsFly | December 16, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Enough on Jason; he'll be great. What are the Nats doing to help make Nyjer a better player. Have they hired anyone special to work with him in the off-season on baserunning? base stealing? Game situation and throwing decisions? Leadoff hitting responsibilities? They can't just leave it to the player to correct all of this on his own. If he is to be our centerfielder, this is the time to fix his issues with professional advice.

Posted by: JamesFan2 | December 16, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Enough on Jason; he'll be great. What are the Nats doing to help make Nyjer a better player. Have they hired anyone special to work with him in the off-season on baserunning? base stealing? Game situation and throwing decisions? Leadoff hitting responsibilities? They can't just leave it to the player to correct all of this on his own. If he is to be our centerfielder, this is the time to fix his issues with professional advice.

Posted by: JamesFan2 | December 16, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Note to JamesFan2; Obviously you're on top of thing's i stated the same sentiments early last season when Nyjer started showing sign's of poor play in the field and on the basepath's even suggesting that they bring back Marquis Grissom. The other day after they signed the ancient Matt Stairs i suggested why they didn't send feelers out for Kenny Lofton who could possibly help Nyjer. I might be wrong but i don't think "Double Switch" has one african-american coach on his staff.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 16, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

So management is still calling Ryan Zimmerman "The Man." I seem to recall Zim talking last year about how important it was to him to keep Dunn and Willingham on the team; instead it will be Morgan and Desmond. I bet "The Man" can't wait to talk contract extension.

Posted by: ammonite88 | December 16, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

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