I thought long and hard about writing this one, knowing how beloved Jayson Werth is in this city, but it's become too difficult to ignore some of the obvious signs. This goes to show you how absolved from all wrongdoing a player can be when they are performing at a high level.
Right now, Jayson Werth is not.
At first, all was good. Werth grew a beard in the off-season. We loved it. He started off the year on a torrid pace. More love. His perceived desire to win at all costs is exactly what Philly fans want out of a player. He counted down the days to spring training just moments after losing to the Yankees in the World Series, he gives answers like "win another World Series" on the scoreboard during in-game videos. And to this point, he always walked the walk.
Now, his struggles are allowing fans to see the other side of Werth- and not just on the field.
The first sign of trouble was when Charlie Manuel mentioned that there were some players in the locker room concerned about money (Werth is the most notable soon to be free agent). Then Manuel took it a step further and opined that it was affecting Werth at the plate- Werth denied it. Then he cursed at a fan. And gave a half-assed apology. TheDirty.com reported a rumor about him and Chase Utley's wife (likely not true, but the timing couldn't have been worse).
Wait outside of Citizen's Bank Park after a game and try to get Werth's autograph. On this day (as the players were leaving for the All-Star break), Rollins and Lidge both stopped in the short time we were there. Werth did not. We're not going to pretend that this is any real indication of character, but when we've been there, fans are 0-3 this year with Werth.
Another day, a fan who followed him to the stop light said Werth rolled down his tinted window just enough to say "get out of the way."
And now comes the comment from Delco Times writer Ryan Lawrence:
After Ryan Madson served up the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning of the Phillies 4-3 defeat to the Cubs Friday afternoon, the dejected setup man stood his ground as a couple of questions were lobbed his way. A few feet away in the close-quarters clubhouse, when Madson’s brief Q&A session ended, Jayson Werth decided to chime in.
“Nice interview, guys,” said the starting right fielder, who went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, all looking, Friday.
Nice game, Jayson.
The writers tell us this is just par for the course this season.
CSN's John Finger notes a similar indifference from Werth.
What do our readers think?
He's Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls. Was level headed, caught on w/ the popular people & his head got too big for his shoulders
A trade doesn't seem to be the worst thing in the world as this juncture.
King of Swing…. and a miss.
looks like he's checked out. way too many called third strikes for a major leaguer as of late.
Time to go. He's been playing for himself all year (trying too hard to earn the big contract), and he's been an ass to the fans and sportswriters. He looks like he forgot how to hit. Trade him now, while we still might get something for him (somebody is bound to take a chance on him, to help a pennant chase).
Trade him for a bag of balls!
he used to be my FAVORITE player, but now i don't think i like him that much anymore.
We did get a lot of "he'll turn it around", "give him a break", and "I'd fuck him", but you would have been hard pressed to find even one of those negative comments three months ago.
Perform simple search for his name on Facebook and Twitter, and you'll find more examples.
He's not doing himself any favors at the plate by striking out looking seemingly every at-bat. He's obviously trying. But is he trying because he wants to win, or because the next three months will likely determine his (and the next two generations of Werths) financial future?
Either way, it's a lot of pressure. And Werth appears to be crumbling under it.
I would love for him to prove me wrong.