Around the Washington Nationals, there is a commonly accepted notion about Jayson Werth: He will meet people with skepticism before he trusts them, and he will open up over time, on his terms only. Werth insists this is backward. It takes others time to come to know him, he says, and then they feel comfortable. The perception of him evolves and he remains the same, not the other way around.

“I’ve never been one to make a good first impression,” Werth said Friday morning, leaning on a black baseball bat not far from the batting cage at Space Coast Stadium. “My whole life has always been, you got to kind of get to know me. But usually first impressions are not my strong suit.”

When the Nationals signed Werth in December 2010 to a seven-year, $126 million contract, they trumpeted his ability to change a franchise not only with his play, but with his off-field contributions. Two years later, the vision has come to bear, far beyond the usual buzzwords about “leadership” and “culture.”

One week away from his third opening day in Washington, Werth’s influence has spread through every phase of the Nationals’ operation, from the training room to the front office, from rookies in their first spring training to ownership.

He tells teammates when they need to run their last sprint. He tells security guards when they need an extra body in the bleachers. He tells the general manager when the training room needs new equipment. He can bounce between roles — clubhouse enforcer, protector of teammates, emissary to management.

“He doesn’t just straight accept things,” reliever Drew Storen said. “It’s not, ‘Oh, whatever.’ He gets things done. If something is not right, he’s going to fix it.”

If you think that is an empty cliche, you haven’t met the blood nutritionist or used the isokinetic activation device. Werth pushed the Nationals to improve how they feed, train and maintain the health of their players. They listened, spent more money and made upgrades.

“He’s really a forward-thinking person,” said Mike Rizzo, the general manager. “He’s brought a lot of ideas to the ballclub. And that really was what we were looking for from him.”