It would have been hard for the lowly Washington Nationals to steal the biggest headline of the offseason, but they certainly tried their hardest. If it wasn't the biggest storyline, the signing of Jayson Werth to a seven-year $126 million contract was definitely the most surprising.
The contract puts Werth right up there with the highest paid players in baseball, which is not a spot a lot of people thought he would be this year. The Nationals invested a lot of money in Werth to be the face of their franchise, and that puts a significant amount of pressure on him to produce. According to ESPN, all that pressure only changes the way he is perceived, not who he is.
"There's obviously a responsibility. There's a lot to think about. But the bottom line is, the game hasn't changed. I haven't changed. The guys I'm playing against -- they haven't changed. So in that sense, there is a greater responsibility when a team or an ownership decides they want to make an investment in you. But what is that responsibility exactly? I'm not really sure. …
"But I think," he says, finally, "that maybe the way that I'm perceived, maybe by everybody else, that's probably what's changed the most."
I think that is a good attitude for Werth to have. I can't imagine that he would produce any better if he was constantly thinking about all the pressure that is one him now. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy that will change because of the way people talk about him (beard) so I think he should play pretty well this year. And if he doesn't, I don't think it will have anything to do with the contract.