WASHINGTON -- Outfielder Jayson Werth has been an integral part of the Nationals since 2011. During that period, the team has won two National League East titles and expects to be in the pennant race for a fifth time. But Werth wants more. He wants to win a World Series
WASHINGTON -- Outfielder Jayson Werth has been an integral part of the Nationals since 2011. During that period, the team has won two National League East titles and expects to be in the pennant race for a fifth time. But Werth wants more. He wants to win a World Series title before his contract expires after the 2017 season.
MLB.com caught up with Werth to talk about the first quarter of the 2016 season.
MLB.com: How do you think the team is doing up to this point?
Jayson Werth: I don't think we have played our best ball yet, but we are giving ourselves a good chance. We had a good April. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. You have to give yourself a chance, and I think we have done that.
MLB.com: The offense has been inconsistent. How do you explain it?
Werth: As everybody gets rolling, we will sync up. But we played good enough to win games. Bryce [Harper] has carried us. [Daniel] Murphy has carried us and won games for us. But other guys have done their part, and it's got us to this point. I don't get the sense that the offense is not working.
MLB.com: What about the pitching staff? Is this the best Nationals pitching staff you have seen so far?
Werth: Yeah, it's pretty good with the success that they have had. It's the type of rotation that is capable of winning a lot of games.
MLB.com: The bullpen isn't bad, either.
Werth: They have been doing their part as well. I think we have a solid club. We are a quarter of the way through. We have a long way to go. We have to stay heathy. I think everything is lining up for us. We have to win the games, we have to get the hits, we have to make pitches.
MLB.com: The club has a real good vibe in this clubhouse. Why is that the case?
Werth: I think we always had a good vibe, a good group and a good core nucleus of guys. Overall, this team gets along, it has a lot of chemistry. But I think [manager] Dusty [Baker] has done a lot coming in and the way he goes about things. I think all of his clubhouses have been good clubhouses because of the presence that he has. You take that and you add what you've had here for a while, it makes for an enjoyable place.
MLB.com: You are off to a slow start. Why is that?
Werth: If I knew that, I wouldn't be off to the slow start. We are working hard. I'm tinkering with some things. I hope to get going. I have a lot left in the tank. I'm healthy. In the past when I've been healthy, I've played well.
MLB.com: For some reason, when you hit near the top of the lineup, you seem to be at your best. Why is that?
Werth: Baseball is funny like that. I've always liked to be a big part of the offense. When I hit third all those years here, I took pride hitting third. I understand the responsibility to hit at the top of the order. Wherever the skipper wants to put me -- as long as I'm in the lineup.
MLB.com: You have two more years left in your contract. How do you see the rest of your career going?
Werth: Hopefully, it will not end [after two years]. I would like to continue playing after this contract is up. But you have to produce. We'll see how it goes.
MLB.com: Would you like to manage or coach after your playing career is over?
Werth: Not at the moment. I don't know if I will get there or not. Once we get to the finish line, we'll see what opportunities are there.
MLB.com: I know you won a championship with the Phillies. How badly do you want to win a championship with the Nationals?
Werth: You put this much time into something, you put this much work into something, you want to win. That's why you play this game. That's what being an American is all about. It's disappointing when you don't win a championship. That's why we are here every day working.
MLB.com: You have been with the Nationals for six years. How do you think it has gone for you here?
Werth: I don't think I will look back at my time in Washington as a success unless we win. You come here for seven years, you want to win. In my mind, if we win, it will all be worth it.
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.