The stories were told about how Werth had always seen himself as the kind of guy who didn't have to check the lineup card when he walked into the clubhouse, who should be able to assume he would be playing that night.
About how, in an attempt to make his case to Manuel, went to the manager in May 2007 and presented him with a highlight film of his 2004 season with the Dodgers. About how as recently as last August he marched into the manager's office and stated firmly that he thought he had earned the chance to be in the lineup regularly.
About how he took over for good in August, batting .313 with six homers and 15 RBI during the month while Jenkins was sidelined by a strained hip.
The Phillies certainly seemed to be into the idea when they gave him a 2-year, $10 million contract over the winter.
Well, maybe not quite.
After all, if the Phillies are absolutely, positively certain that Werth will get the vast majority of the playing time, that makes Jenkins an awfully expensive pinch-hitter/insurance policy at $6.75 million. And Jenkins is still here.
Look, Werth has the talent to have a big year. That's not the issue. The quibble is that it's just about impossible to prove you can do something without, you know, actually doing it first.
"When you've proved you can play every day, most likely you're getting 550 [plate appearances]," Manuel said. "If you hit at the top of the order, and he batted second a lot, you might get 700 or more. Has he proved he could play every day? I'd have to look and see exactly how many games he started last year. But when the day comes when he can get 550 [plate appearances], that's when you qualify as an everyday player. And I think he feels the same way, too."
Werth started 103 games last season and had a career-high 482 plate appearances. And now he'll be given every opportunity to show that he can stay healthy, that he can hit righthanders, that he is, in fact, an everyday player.
"At the very least, he's close," said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. "It's kind of up to him to progress and become the player he can be. He's got a lot of physical talent. But the truth of the matter is he's never gotten over, what,  plate appearances in any one season. So that whole, everyday-player tag, he really hasn't gotten there yet. In some ways, it's still on the come."
Manuel said he envisions Werth missing no more than 15 games, 20 tops, this season. "For him to prove that he's an everyday player, that's what he has to do," he added.
If nothing happens to change that projection in the next 4 weeks, then the Phillies face a bit of a quandary. The roster is already top-heavy with lefthanded-hitting outfielders. They have Jenkins, Matt Stairs and Greg Dobbs in addition to starter Raul Ibanez.
The perception - there's that word again - is that Jenkins has become superfluous because of Werth's emergence after batting just .246 last season with a disappointing nine homers and 29 RBI.
Amaro talked about the adjustments Jenkins has made in his swing - he homered off Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo in the second inning of yesterday's 8-4 loss - and how he's had a better approach this spring.
But if Werth has nailed down the spot, doesn't that make Jenkins expendable? Or is there still enough doubt that they would want to keep Jenkins around, just in case? Or does it make sense to have him available just to face the tougher righthanders who Werth might be expected to struggle against?
"It kind of depends on what needs we may have and whether or not we're better off doing that [trading Jenkins]. You never know what's going to happen. We have to keep our minds open," Amaro said vaguely.
Which leaves a final perception: that the Phillies really believe Werth is going to play almost every day and that if Jenkins plays well enough to attract the attention of another team willing to pick up a good portion of his salary, that's how this situation will play itself out.
Now we'll just have to wait and see if that comes to pass or if it just disappears into the clear blue sky. *
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