SBD/March 25, 2013/Franchises

Werth Leaves His Mark On The Nationals, Both Onfield And Behind The Scenes

Werth played a role in improving the Nats' medical and weight-training programs
The Nationals in signing RF Jayson Werth in ’10 to a seven-year, $126M contract “trumpeted his ability to change a franchise not only with his play, but with his off-field contributions,” and “two years later, the vision has come to bear,” according to Adam Kilgore of the WASHINGTON POST. Werth’s influence has “spread through every phase” of the team’s operation, from “the training room to the front office, from rookies in their first spring training to ownership.” Exec VP/Baseball Operations & GM Mike Rizzo said, “He’s really a forward-thinking person. He’s brought a lot of ideas to the ballclub.” Kilgore noted Werth’s ideas “that stuck became tangible symbols” of his impact. In the clubhouse kitchen, “no longer does a cook make whatever players ask for.” A chef “trained in nutrition informs players how much sodium, fat or Vitamin A they should be eating.” Werth said, “We’ve gone from probably the worst food in the league to the best food. It’s more about nutrition.” Werth also “advocated for better equipment in the weight room,” and Rizzo “took the requests to ownership.” The Lerner family “bought both a single and double isokinetic activation device for $4,500.” The Nationals also “added a long press, the barbell system Olympic weightlifters use, for $600 at Werth’s urging.” Werth also “persuaded them to purchase a 100-pound kettle bell for $500.” The Nationals’ front office last year “spearheaded a four-month, in-depth analysis of their medical needs, comparing their processes to other teams and identifying areas of weakness.” Werth “played an instrumental role, suggesting alternative therapies -- the Nationals obtained the services [of] an acupuncturist at his urging -- and recommending nontraditional specialists” (WASHINGTON POST, 3/24).
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