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Nationals payroll “beyond topped out”

Apr 4, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

Bryce Harper AP AP

Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner says the team’s payroll is “beyond topped out”, per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Lerner added, “Our payroll has skyrocketed to like $140 million. It’s in the papers. I don’t think we can go much further with the revenue streams that we have.”

Jayson Werth ($20.57 million), Ryan Zimmerman ($14 million), Rafael Soriano ($14 million), and Adam LaRoche ($12 million) account for a large portion of the current payroll, at 44 percent. Lerner says the team will be more cautious in spending based on the team’s revenue. Kilgore adds that their future spending could also be determined by the direction in which negotiations over TV rights goes with MASN.

The Nationals’ payroll has skyrocketed after their 2012 success, going from $92.5 million to $118 million, then up to $135 million for the 2014 season.

  1. musketmaniac - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    generally speaking. General managers generally try to spend less than a million a victory.

    • paperlions - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      Then GMs, generally speaking, are horrible at their jobs, as few team were successful at spending fewer millions of dollars than games won…and very few of those teams had winning records.

      • archilochusColubris - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        What are you talking about, paperlions? Back in my day, GMs could always win more games than the millions spent on their payroll. GMs these days have no fundamentals.

      • paperlions - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        Yeah, well….2 bits doesn’t get you into a game anymore. Heck, it won’t even buy you a ml of nectar.

    • craigssideburns - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:59 PM


  2. jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    When will MLB get off their asses and fix the Nats tv deal? That could totally change any “revenue” issues that the franchise faces.

    Most unfair situation in baseball. No other team has to deal with this. Thanks Peter Angelos.

    • raysfan1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:11 PM

      The committee working on resolving the Oakland A’s/San Jose situation for the past 5 years has promised to tackle the Nationals situation next.

    • shyts7 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:18 PM

      Apparently you haven’t seen the Braves tv deal. Worst deal in sports!

    • tomtravis76 - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      Was the Lerner family aware of the agreement between MLB and Peter Angelos prior to purchasing the Nats? If so, then there really isn’t much to fix. It might not seem fair but they purchased the franchise with pre arranged terms. But money does ultimately fix anything amongst owners, make the fans pay for it somehow.

      And wasn’t Mr. Lerner listed recently as the richest owner in baseball?

      • jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        MLB would not sell to any ownership group that did not agree to the MASN deal. The Lerners had no choice.

        The argument is over how much money the Nationals should actually get from the percentage they currently have because the value of the network has increased since the last negotiation. It could mean as much as an extra $60 million per year for the Nats which would have a huge impact on their payroll.

        In the end, the Nats can only ever grow their share of MASN to 33%. Explain to me how that is fair. No other team in baseball faces this situation.

      • jaguar0413 - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:52 PM

        That may be true, but he is 88 years old and his wealth comes from real estate holdings (which we know can be volatile). Also, most of his net worth is not liquid because it is tied to existing assets in his projects and holdings.

        Running the Nationals as a sound business is not a bad idea. It will contribute to the long term success of the franchise in DC which was Lerner’s goal all along. He knew when he bought the team that with his age, he might not be around for 20 years to ensure the sustained success of the franchise in DC.

  3. apkyletexas - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    And they still have to figure out how to pay Bryce and Stephen very soon.

  4. Darkoestrada - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Never paying 14 mil for a relief pitcher again would be a good idea

  5. shyts7 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    $140 million for an overrated lineup. This team is not as good as a lot think. Great starting pitching but that is about it. Harper is on his way to being great. Werth is a year older and anyone that pays LaRoche & Soriano a combined $26 million has lost their mind. It’s a two man race in the east and the Braves have more depth, which will win out in the end.

    • joehahntpt - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:29 PM

      I feel that Laroche and Soriano are the only two potential weak spots in this team. Yes, they do not have superstar (yet…c’mon Bryce) but everyone on the team is at least solid. Yes, Werth is old, but he’s not too old yet. In two years he is going to be worthless and making about 26mill. I think that the injury bug and the Upton bug are going to bite too hard for the Braves to recover. It’s going to be an interesting race all season though!

      • shyts7 - Apr 5, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        It will be an interesting season. I can’t tell by all the thumbs down that a lot of Nats fans are still delusional. I’m not worried about the bad play so much as the injuries with the starting pitchers. The Braves won last year mainly because of Freeman and Johnson. BJ if he doesn’t pick it up soon, will be replaced with a guy who did pretty good for the Braves last year in Schaefer. Uggla will be replaced around midseason when La Stella is ready. Freeman and Heyward are on their way to becoming stars. Johnson and Simmons are solid players. Gattis is playing well all things considering. Justin is very streaky but when he is on, he is one of the best in the game. The injury bug only hurts the Braves in the starting rotation, where there isn’t a whole lot of depth. I’m confident in the Braves. They won last year with the 3rd most injuries in baseball and not much hitting. The Nats are just overrated and people will see that yet again his year.

    • nickr26 - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:18 PM

      Well I’m guessing your a braves or philly fan cause the nats lineup is not overrated Ian Desmond is arguably the best All around SS in the league along with Harper,Rendon ,Zim,Werth, and Span the nats have a solid lineup which easily trumps the Braves who have the highly overrated Uptons and Uggla

      • shyts7 - Apr 10, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        I am a Braves fan. Desmond is good but he is not that good yet. You put too much stock in some of those Nats. Zimmerman is awful in the field and only has power at the plate not average. Werth is starting to get old. Still good but starting to get old. Span is overrated plain and simple. Harper is going to be a superstar but he hasn’t taken that Mike Trout “next step” yet. Break it down by position

        Gattis>Lobaton – I’d still take Gattis’ potential over Ramos
        Freeman>LaRoche – Freeman one of the three best 1B in baseball
        UgglaDesmond – Simmons is the best defensive SS in the game.
        Johnson>Zimmerman – Johnson hits for better average and is better in the field
        Justin=Harper – Push. Harper has higher upside but has realized it yet.
        BJWerth – Heyward is just starting to show what he can do
        Braves Bench>Nats Bench – Schaefer and Doumit are solid bench options

        Braves SPNats RP – I don’t care what anyone says. Clippard is horrible.
        Kimbrel>Soriano – Kimbrel is the best in the game.

        At the end of the season, you will see that the Nats are $140 million of overrated underachieving players yet again.

  6. favrewillplay4ever - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Perhaps they should move to some place like Montreal that could offer a better TV deal where they could be the only game in town? Or at least the only baseball team for miles?

    • tuberippin - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      I think they have an available stadium, too.

  7. chc4 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    And they still can’t beat the Braves.

  8. sgtr0c - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    I guess that means they will be allowing Phillies zip codes to buy tickets to afford their post poned WS appearance.

  9. sumerduckman - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Could we see the books Mark?

  10. musketmaniac - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    lol. I was watching that stupid General insurance commercial while I was typing that. couldn’t help myself. yes, most of the g.m.s seem to be morons.

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 5, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      Oops sorry I was trying to hit reply and hit report

  11. rcali - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    The contracts listed in this article by themselves should get everybody fired.

  12. scotttheskeptic - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Ahh, the curse of home grown talent. If you have done your job, then you have a payroll that ‘skyrockets’ simply to keep that talent. Throw in a free-agent deal or two, and, “WOW!” /s
    Seriously, $118M averages to $4.72M per active player (on Opening Day), which really ain’t that much.

  13. DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    If I’m not mistaken – Soriano is actually $7 mil of that $140 mil. He has $14 mil deferred to 2018.

  14. musketmaniac - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    Baseball needs a new stat wam (wins above million) Oakland would have been king of this last year. +30 the pirates were + 16 the braves, indians, royals , and devil rays all plus. even the mets were +1. yankees were -140 or something . complete new 2013 stats coming

    • dillongeeescapeplan - Apr 5, 2014 at 9:42 AM

      Uh, no.

  15. musketmaniac - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    stats are based on opening day roster payroll.
    As +36
    Rays + 34
    Fish +32
    Astros +29
    buccos +15
    indians +14
    padres +9
    braves +7
    royals +5
    rockies +2
    seattle +1
    mets +1
    o`s -6
    arizona -8
    brewers -9
    twins -10
    rangers -13
    reds -17
    cards -pennant
    nats -28
    cubs -38
    jays -43
    angels -50
    redsox _ priceless
    tigers -55
    whitesox -56
    giants -66
    phils -92
    Dodgers -114
    Yankees -144

  16. hughhansen - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    What a weird way for an owner to speak on the record.

    “beyond topped out.”
    “skyrocketed to like $140 million.”
    “It’s in the papers.”

    Like $140 million? Do you not know exactly what your payroll number is, and are you getting this info from the papers?

  17. nsstlfan - Apr 5, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Bye bye Bryce and Stephen

  18. ermur221 - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    What a waste for Werth

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