Werth says Nats are 'complete, on paper'

Werth says Nats are 'complete, on paper'
February 16, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Werth loves DC's 'natitude'

VIERA, Fla. -- Jayson Werth has played on a World Series winner. He's played against World Series winners. He's a true student of the game and knows the history of great teams as well as any current major leaguer.

And, it appears, he'll stack the 2013 Nationals up against any of them.

"Has there ever been a team this complete on paper?" the veteran right fielder said today in his first appearance of the spring at Space Coast Stadium. "I'm not really a guy who looks at stuff like that. But when you look around the room, what we've got and where we're at and who we've got, you've got to feel pretty good about it."

Werth made sure to issue an all-important caveat: The Nationals haven't played a game yet, and they still must prove themselves on the field.

But like many others around the sport, he sees a Nationals club with few (if any) flaws.

"In my mind, we've got one of the most-talented teams," he said. "I don't know too many other teams in the past. Talent-wise? In this day and age? I like where we're at. We're pretty good."

The Nationals enter the spring with most of last season's 98-win roster intact, having bolstered that roster with a leadoff hitter (Denard Span), an All-Star right-hander (Dan Haren) and another elite closer (Rafael Soriano).

They've got a pair of No. 1 draft picks (Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper) who were named All-Stars for the first time last season and have only scratched the surface of their potential.

And, for the moment, they're nearly 100 percent healthy. Though they also were stockpiled with depth to overcome several significant injuries in 2012.

"People say: 'Well, you've got to stay healthy,'" Werth said. "We weren't too healthy last year, and we won as many games as we won. We've got guys on the bench who are about ready to play every day."

One of the few members of this team with significant playoff experience prior to last season, Werth draws some obvious comparisons between the current Nationals and the 2008 Phillies club with which he won the World Series. That Philadelphia squad won its first division title the previous year, then was eliminated in the first-round of the postseason before bouncing back to win a championship the following year.

"This team, when you start the year on paper, talent-wise is off the charts," he said. "Starting pitching. Bullpen. Defense. Lineup. Then you've got guys on that team in '08 that were a little more accomplished than most guys in here: Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley. So it is similar, but it's still a little bit different."