Jayson Werth had a lot to say about the role analytics play in today's game, and he also talked about calling 29 teams while he was unsigned last offseason.
In an appearance on the Howard Eskin Podcast on WIP 94 Sports Radio in Philadelphia, former outfielder Jayson Werth made it pretty clear that he is not a fan of the influence analytics are having on baseball.
"They’ve got all these super nerds, as I call them, in the front office that know nothing about baseball but they like to project numbers and project players," Werth told Eskin.
Werth, who spent four years in the middle of his career with the Phillies before playing his final seven seasons with the Nationals, explained how he thinks the focus on numbers and the transition in front offices to hire executives with less of a background in baseball is damaging the game.
From the podcast:
I think it's killing the game. It’s to the point where just put computers out there. Just put laptops and what have you, just put them out there and let them play. We don’t even need to go out there anymore. It’s a joke. ...
When they come down, these kids from MIT, or Stanford, or Harvard, wherever they’re from, they’ve never played baseball in their life. When they come down to talk about stuff like [shifts], should I just bunt it over there? They're like, 'No, don't do that. We don't want you to do that. We want you to hit a homer.' It’s just not baseball to me. We're creating something that's not fun to watch. It's boring. You're turning players into robots. They've taken the human element out of the game.
Werth also took issue with instant replay and other rule changes that have been made to the game recently, saying, "There's been more rule changes in the last five years than the previous 120 combined. I think we're getting to a place where you start to worry as a baseball guy. You start to worry are the people that are true baseball fans, are you creating something that's now not what people enjoy watching? I don't know. It's worrisome. It's a beautiful game and I think it's getting screwed up."
In addition to talking about his problems with the direction the game has been taking recently, Werth also discussed how his offseason went and what factors led to his retirement.
Werth said he had to fire former agent Scott Boras after Boras told him to hold off on accepting offers he received in November only to end up without a home at the start of Spring Training. From there, Werth said he took it upon himself to get a job, only to realize that teams weren't aware he was even still interested in playing.
"So I took matters into my own hands ... and I called every team but one, and tried to get a job," Werth told Eskin. "The only team I didn’t call? The Mets. ... I wouldn't play for the Mets."
Eventually, Werth ended up in the Mariners minor league system, where he suffered a hamstring injury right before he was going to get called up to the big league team. He said he and the team agreed to wait two weeks for him to get healthy and then they would make a decision. In the series in which the team was going to make its call on whether or not to call up Werth, he reinjured the hamstring, causing him to call it a career.
In his 15 years in MLB, Werth made one All-Star Game and helped Philadelphia win the 2008 World Series.