You read the headline and think this is all about Jayson Werth—Wrong! This is mostly about Matt Holliday and a little bit about Jayson Werth.
Right now at the Cardinals spring training facility in Jupiter Florida, Matt Holliday is taking groundballs at 1st base. Yes, it’s 2 months before his teammates are scheduled to arrive officially at Spring Training.
On July 13, 2015 in an interview with Dayn Perry, he asked Holliday whether it’s possible he’ll see some time at first base upon his return from the DL: “No,”. Any chance at all? “No.” Okay, asked and answered. The only reason Perry asked was because he saw Holliday practicing taking grounders at 1st base prior to Cardinals batting practice, and then yesterday on MLB Network Radio with Casey Stern this is the complete 180° as Matt Holliday had this to say when asked if he would play 1st base, “Yes, if they need me to play 1st, great…if the team wants me to do it great…” Head spin. Less than 6 months between quotes and ‘No’ turns to ‘Yes’ and ‘Great’.
— Jayson Werth's Beard (@JWerthsBeard) December 22, 2015
The Cardinals downplayed this move by Holliday as GM John Mozeliak was asked about Holliday spotted in Jupiter Florida practicing hard at 1st base and Mozeliak said, “We will see.” Yes, we will see as the rumor mill is now working that this could open up the spot for the Cardinals to acquire Alex Gordon or another big outfield bat as they try to replace the departed Jason Heyward.
From Jon Heyman, “Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is working hard at first base in Jupiter, Fla. Holliday was said to be resistant to a move during the season. According to spies who have seen workouts over there, Holliday is doing it on his own to try to lengthen his career”.
If Holliday is doing this on his own, it’s impressive. He practiced 1st base last year, but has never played a single game in his MLB career at 1st base or anywhere except the outfield even though before his more recent injuries he was rated as one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball. Holliday will be 36 years old before spring training starts and began his Minor League career as a 3rd baseman but was quickly moved to the outfield.
This is the perfect segue to Jayson Werth who is slightly older than Holliday as Jayson is already 36 1/2 years old and had a statistically poor 2015 season offensively and defensively as the Nats starting leftfielder. Besieged by injuries, Werth had troubles throwing the ball and running at times but had his share of games where Jayson flashed some leather and his bat came alive, it just wasn’t consistent.
Last week, Jayson Werth addressed his health and longevity, “At some point, that’s not going to be the case. That’s just the reality of it. Until I feel like I can’t play every day, I have no other reason to think that I can’t go out there and do what I’ve always done. I feel good. I feel healthy. The wrist thing is tricky. I’ve had three surgeries and four fractures. It’s a real thing. You can’t outrun Father Time. Then you throw some injuries in there, so I know I’m at the end of my career moreso than the beginning. But I don’t feel like I’m slowing down any time soon.”
Jayson Werth has 36 Minor League games at 1st base and 1 game in the Majors at 1st base. There is no indication that Jayson Werth will ever pick up a 1st baseman’s glove ever again, and frankly there’s no room at 1st base for Werth now as that is firmly occupied by Ryan Zimmerman. Taking reps at 1st base would only make sense as a depth chart move as right now the Nats 1st baseman are already 3 deep with Ryan Zimmerman, Clint Robinson, and Tyler Moore. There is still the chance that Tyler Moore gets traded, and that’s where this becomes the bigger concern if only Zimmerman and Robinson were the depth on this team given Zimmerman’s injury history.
It’s there to ponder and for right now it’s not an issue with Tyler Moore available.