Still, there are several reasons to suspect this guilty glee is a little premature.
The first is that, of course, his deal with the Nationals still has 6 years and 5 months to go. It's pretty silly to draw any conclusions already.
More important, general manager Mike Rizzo made it clear that grabbing Werth was about more than just the numbers. He was looking for somebody who knew what it takes to win. Who wouldn't be afraid to say things to a teammate who wasn't giving his all. Who brought a little grit, a little toughness, a little addytood to a team that had lost 298 games the previous three seasons.
Well, the Nationals ended April with a 12-14 record. And they did it even though their franchise star, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, has missed most of the season with an abdominal tear and without star pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who is still rehabbing from elbow surgery last September. Werth, who has talked at length about helping to change the culture in Washington's clubhouse, has to get at last a share of the credit for that.
Then there's the fact that some position players who change teams and then sign big contracts will struggle at the outset. They could feel the pressure of the new deal and try to do too much. They could just be in an unexplainable slump. It happens in baseball. They could be adjusting to a new home park. Maybe even a new league. Or they could just be notoriously slow starters, like Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.
The Red Sox signed Carl Crawford to an even more lucrative contract than Werth's last winter . . . and he suffered through a miserable April. *