Thursday, August 18, 2022

Jayson Werth and the Nationals Ring of Honor

I took my kids to the Washington Nationals-Chicago Cubs game on Wednesday. The Nationals lost 3-2 and are now 39-80. They are a bad baseball team and that says something from someone who follows the Pittsburgh Pirates! While looking around the stadium, I noticed that Jayson Werth’s name is included in the team’s Ring of Honor. Apparently, this induction occurred in 2018, but I have no recollection of this happening, and I guess I never noticed this before.

I’m not a Jayson Werth fan. I think he’s a bully who should have got suspended for attacking a mascot and is a jerk for pouring chocolate syrup on Nationals' reporter Dan Kolko. Nats fans like Werth though. My question is this: why does Werth deserve to make the team’s Ring of Honor? According to this September 2018 article, the team credits Werth for changing the culture from the Nationals being a mediocre (and sometimes awful) team to a team that won 4 NL East titles in his 7 years. Pay almost anyone $126 million over 7 years, and I’m sure they will help bring a winning culture too. Of course, let’s not forget the addition of guys like Bryce Harper Stephen Strasburg, and later Max Scherzer. Ryan Zimmerman was also really good during this time. They helped the culture too. Oh, and for all of that winning culture Werth brought, do you know how many playoff series the team won with him? It rhymes with “Hero.”

In 2012, the first year the Nationals won the division, Werth had 5 home runs and 31 runs batted in over 81 games in an injury-filled season. Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Mike Morse, and even Tyler Moore had more, and in some cases, significantly more home runs that season. Werth ended up with a 9.0 WAR (wins above replacement) during his time as a National. He made 0 all-star teams. For $18 million a year, I think you would expect more. You know who should have been inducted into Ring of Honor before Werth? Ian Desmond who had a 16.5 WAR and an all-star appearance in his 7 seasons on the team. Maybe Alfonso Soriano with his 6.1 WAR with 40 home runs/40 stolen bases 2006 season. Maybe even Mike Morse who had 67 home runs in 1353 plate appearances during his 4 seasons in DC compared to Werth’s 109 home runs in 3427 plate appearances. And if you want to talk about culture, put Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton, and especially Gerardo Parra in the Ring of Honor. Everyone loved Baby Shark during the team’s World Series run.

Basically, what I’m writing is Jayson Werth was a good baseball player in DC, but the team put him in the Ring of Honor to justify $126 million contract. And that’s one of my hills I’m willing to die on.

Werth photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Imagess

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