If a baseball contract was earned by how outstanding someone’s beard is than Jayson Werth has earned every cent in his seven year 126 million dollar contract. The man who currently has a twitter account for his beard, (@JWerthsBeard), is one of the most beloved players in the nation’s capital and is coming off of a MVP caliber 2013 season.
Werth was born in Springfield, Illinois, to Jeff Gowan, a college baseball and football player who broke most of the receiving records at Illinois State University and went on to played outfield in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system, and Kim Schofield Werth, who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump and 100 meters. He is also a third generation major league baseball player as he is a grandson of Ducky Schofield and nephew of Dick Schofield, both Major League Baseball infielders.
Werth started to gain attention from scouts when he was selected to play in the U.S. Junior Pan Am Games in 1995. He then proceeded to blow scouts away while attending Glenwood High School where he hit an outrageous .652 batting average in his senior year with 15 home runs in just 31 games.
Jayson Werth was set on going to the University of Georgia after high school however when he was drafted with the 22 overall pick in 1997 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles he decided not to go to Georgia and follow in his father, grandfather, and uncles footsteps and play in professional baseball.
Things did not work out for Werth with the Orioles so prior to his major league debut the Orioles traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for John Bale. In his major league debut on September 1, 2002 Werth went 2-4 and scored a run against the New York Yankees ace pitcher Roger Clemons.
Werth would finish out the 2002 season with the Blue Jays and would then only play in 26 games the next season. What seems as a definite step back for Werth in his career path he ended up being traded once again to the Los Angeles Dodgers where he would see much more consistent playing time in the MLB.
In his first season with the Dodgers in 2004 Werth provided a spark plug and showed off the talent that resulted in him being picked in the first round. He would go onto .267 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs in just 89 games which allowed him to post a very solid 2.9 WAR. However with the Dodgers hopeful for the 2005 version of Jayson Werth to be similar to the 2004 Jayson Werth they were greatly disappointed. The Dodgers were vastly disappointed in Werth’s output in the next season as he batted .234 with 7 homeruns in 102 ball games however Werth struggles could be greatly pointed at a wrist injury he received in spring training that required him to miss the beginning of the year.
Eight months later, Werth underwent exploratory surgery which revealed two ligament tears in his wrist that were repaired however due to more discomfort Werth had cortisone injected into his wrist. The constant struggle with his wrist injuries caused him to miss the entire 2006 season.
Due to his struggles in 2005 and missing the entire 2006 season the Dodgers decided to not resign Werth which allowed him to become a free agent. Werth would then be given an opportunity with the Philadelphia Phillies as he signed a one year $850,000 contract.
Werth would impress early with the Phillies as he would bat .298 in the 2007 season however due to more wrist injuries he would only play in 98 games. However the next three seasons with the Phillies saw him become a main part of the team’s playoff success as he would hit 24,36,27 home runs in consecutive years from 2008-2010.
However due to wanting to keep franchise corner stones like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard the Phillies decided to let Jayson Werth become a free agent after the 2010 season. The Washington Nationals would then go onto make the biggest free agent splash since they came to the Nation’s Capital.
The Nationals would go onto give Jayson Werth, who was 31 at the time, the 14th richest contract in baseball history as he would receive 126 million dollars over a span of seven seasons.
In his first year under his contract with the Nationals Werth did not live up to having the 14th richest contract in history batting just .238 with 20 home runs. Then in the next season on May 6, 2012, Werth broke his left wrist attempting to make a diving catch in right field. The wrist was the same one that had caused him to miss much of the 2005 season and all of 2006. After a three-month absence for recuperation, Werth returned to the Nationals’ lineup on August 2 he then went onto primarily bat in the leadoff spot in which he was able to post a .309 batting average and .388 OBP in that role. However the legend that is Jayson Werth did not come about during the regular season it came about in the Nationals first trip to the playoffs since moving the Washington.
On October 11, 2012, in game four of the NLDS Jayson Werth concluded a 13-pitch at bat and proceeded to hit a 9th inning walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game, 2–1. With the walk-off homerun the Nationals tied the series at two games apiece and the legend of Jayson Werth blossomed into a hero to Nationals fans everywhere.
Werth would follow up his fantastic finish to the 2012 season with an even better 2013 season as he would go onto collect his 1,000 career hit on August 11, 2013. Werth finished the 2013 season batting .318 with 25 home runs and 82 RBI which put him in the run for MVP but due to only playing in 129 games Werth finished 13th in the NL MVP voting. A lot of analysts say Werth could have won the award if he would have played in a full season.
Jayson Werth has become a legend not just because of his fantastic beard but his ability to come up with clutch hit after clutch hit. It seems everything started going right for Werth in Washington after he came back from the wrist injury in 2012 and it looks like the now 35 year old is going to earn every cent in his 126 million dollar contract. The legend of Jayson Werth is clearly growing into what it is today and when everything is on the line for the Nationals in the playoffs this year there is no ball player that Nationals faithful would rather see with a bat in his hand than the sasquatch who is also known as Jayson Werth.