Thursday, December 25, 2014

Werth: 'I signed here to win'

Jayson Werth is staying in the National League East, but in a surprise move, has agreed to a 7-year deal with the Washington Nationals.

Werth: 'I signed here to win'

Jayson Werth has signed a 7-year deal with the Nationals worth a reported $126M.  (AP Photo / Matt Slocum)
Jayson Werth has signed a 7-year deal with the Nationals worth a reported $126M. (AP Photo / Matt Slocum)

UPDATED: Werth did a conference call with reporters a little while ago.

The main thing Werth stressed in most of his answers was the confidence he has in the Nationals organization that they are committed to building a winning team.

"They gave me assurance that they're going to go out and get the type of talent that we're going to need to be competitive and to win," Werth said. "That was one thing that's very important to me: Winning. I went to Philadelphia in 07, I signed as a free agent because I said we're going to win. I wanted to go somewhere where we were going to win. I went to Philadelphia and we won. I signed here in Washington with the same aspirations. I signed here to win, and I believe we're going to win. It's going to be a challenge. It's going to take some time, but that was one thing the Lerner family and the organization was willing to give me: time to win and to help this thing along. I'm looking forward to to the task. I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's something I'm passionate about. I love the game of baseball. I come from a baseball family, and I think I'm in the place that is very suited for me."

Asked what he needed to do to justify the contract to the fans, Werth said, "I've never been anybody but who I am. I'm going to be myself day in and day out. Every day I'm going to play hard, I'm going to play the game the right way. I'm going to do the things in the clubhouse and off the field that maybe are overlooked in this game but more often than not create a winning atmosphere. I'm on board with the organizational goals and where I see this organization going in the upcoming years. To answer your question, I don't have to prove anything to anybody but myself and my teammates."

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EARLIER:

Jayson Werth is staying in the National League East, surprisingly with the Washington Nationals.

Werth agreed to a 7-year, $126 million contract today, according to multiple reports. The Nationals are holding the press conference at 5 p.m. in Orlando, where the winter meetings begin tomorrow.

Yahoo! Sports was the first to report the contract terms.

The other blow to the Phillies by Werth signing with the Nationals is they will not get a first-round pick. Despite Werth being a Type A free agent, the top 15 picks are protected. The Nationals have the sixth pick. The Phillies will get a second-round pick and a compensatory pick.

The Nationals and Werth’s agent, Scott Boras, had a brief press conference in Orlando. Werth did not attend. The Nationals said they will have further details about when Werth would be formally introduced in Washington.

Here are some of the comments:

Nationals senior VP and GM Mike Rizzo: It’s a big day for the Washington Nationals. We’re very proud to announce signing Jayson Werth to a contract with the Washington Nationals. He will be the centerpiece of our ballclub on the field and in the clubhouse. It kind of exemplifies Phase 2 of the Washington Nationals process. Phase 1 was the scouting and player development and farm system type program. We feel we are well underway. Now is the time to go to the second phase and really compete for division titles and championships. We feel with a player of Jayson Werth’s ilk, a two-way player, a guy who excels offensively and defensively and baserunning and exhibits five tools... that is the type of player we’re looking for. We’re just pleased and so proud that the Lerner family has allowed me the resources to go out and to get Jayson. We think he is going to be a big piece of the puzzle. We certainly have more holes to fill, we have more work to do, and we are certainly aggressively going forward from here and beyond.

Boras: Ted Lerner and Mark Lerner came out to visit Jayson in our offices in California and spent the day with him and really mapped out what they expected from Jayson Werth as far as he takes a new step in his career. And the dynamic was to certainly be involved with the raising of young players in the organization, and certainly from our pursuit, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg being new additions to the franchise for Jayson, his experience in Philadelphia and learning from many great players there and advancing his career, that he would certainly come into the locker room, display a winning attitude and provide the Nationals with something that he learned in his major league career. For Jayson, this was a decision where he certainly wanted to know that this was a place that not only was going to take every step possible to sign young players and draft players that they have exhibited, but also take steps to develop a core system in the minor leagues, and also take further steps in advancing the free-agent process that he would be surrounded by quality major leagues players in addition to those already present in the Nationals organization.

Rizzo on the relationship between Werth and Nationals manager Jim Riggelman: … It played a great role in the signing of Jayson. We got the inside scoop on who the man is and who the person is, which always helps. Jim is a great judge of character and clubhouse presence. He was flowery in his praise for Jayson on and off the field. He feels like I feel, that Jayson’s best days haven’t been had yet. We feel this is a player who had a slower start as a major league player and is going to improve his skills in his future time in the big leagues.

Rizzo on where Werth will play: As of today, I think we have him penciled to hit in the middle of the lineup to play right field, but we’re certainly early in the offseason and things can change from there, but he has the skills and the skill set to play multiple positions in the outfield.

Rizzo on his background with Werth [He said he scouted Werth when Werth was a high school player in Springield, Ill.]: I’ve been a big fan of his lineage and his family... This is a guy we’ve known for a long time. I’ve had my eye on him for quite a long time and a lot of people accuse me of the day that he ended the game against Storin was the day he became on the radar, but he was on the radar way before that.

Rizzo said he played with Dick Schofield in the minors with the Angels.

Werth said via text message that he could not comment until his press conference with the Nationals, per the team's wishes.

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