Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth is excited for the season ahead. Having already expressed his opinion that the Nationals were the best team in baseball at the end of the 2013 regular season despite missing the playoffs, Werth has high hopes in 2014.
On Wednesday he discussed what it has been like to play for new manager Matt Williams, saying that he likes what he has seen and heard so far.
In particular, Werth is interested in seeing a more aggressive brand of baserunning from the Nationals, something he believes Williams will promote. But it’s not just about being aggressive; it’s also about being the right kind of aggressive (quotes from the Washington Post):
When the play comes, go into motion and then you go. The aggression gives you that opportunity to go and then you’re safe. Versus, ‘I’m going, going, going’ and not really basing anything on anything. You’re just a lion out of its cage. And that’s when you get thrown out a lot.”
Aggressive baserunning is a common talking point this time of year, going right along with the physique of individual players, tweaks to batting stances and guys learning new pitches. But then Werth discussed what it takes to steal bases, specifically that guys need to go with their instincts. It’s at this point that things got weird:
That’s how base stealers steal bases. That’s how guys become great base stealers. You don’t become a good base stealer by getting steal signs and stealing. That’s when you get thrown out. Those philosophies are right now. I’m really happy about that.”
The point is actually well taken, but it still takes a couple swings reading that to get which base stealers are stealing right and which base stealers aren’t actually base stealers who steal bases. Whatever the right way is, Werth will see to it that it’s how the Nationals are doing things.