So, I was kind of wondering the other day, “how much salary has this team deferred at this point?” And, from the comments on the last article, others are wondering the same. So lets play a little game; take a quick guess as to the aggregate amount of salary the Nats have kicked down the road to this point before reading on.
Digging through Cots’ website looking for details, here’s what I discovered in terms of Nats players currently under contract and their deferral terms:
|Player||Main Contract Details||Deferred Pmt Details|
|Werth, Jayson||7 yr/$126M (11-17)||Deferred $10M to 2018 w/ 5% interest|
|Scherzer, Max||7yr/$210M (15-21)||2019-21 salaries ($105M) deferred without interest, to be paid in seven $15M installments each July 1 from 2022 to 2028|
|Strasburg, Stephen||7yr/$175M (17-23)||$70M deferred without interest ($30M in 2019, $10M in 2020, $30M in 2023), paid in seven $10M installments each July 1, 2024-30|
|Murphy, Daniel||3yr/$37.5M (16-18)||$5.5M of 2018 salary is deferred without interest, to be paid in installments of $2.5M on 1/15/19 and $3M on 1/15/20|
|Wieters, Matt||1yr/$5.5M (17)||$5M in salary is deferred, to be paid in 2021|
|Lind, Adam||1 year/$1.5M (2017)||$500k buyout of mutual 2018 option|
I’m not sure I was even aware that the team deferred Daniel Murphy‘s salary until I saw it in print. I also included FWIW the nominal $500k buyout of Adam Lind‘s mutual option as a “future” payment just for completion.
So, how do these payments look going forward? here’s a quick look at the next 14 years or so of deferred payments:
Since those two tables may not be easy to follow, here’s the answer: $196,000,000 in total deferred salary over the next 14 years.
Here’s how it breaks down year over year:
- 2017: nothing or this year; all our roughly $152M in payroll for this year (current dollars) is for players, this year.
- 2018: Jayson Werth‘s $10M from last year plus Lind’s $500k buyout.
- 2019 and 2020: Murphy’s $5.5M total deferred salary, split between the two years.
- 2021: Matt Wieters’ $5M of 2017 salary deferral comes due.
That’s all chump change compared to what’s coming up after that:
- 2022, 2023: $15M each year for the beginning of Max Scherzer‘s deferred payments.
- 2024-2028: $25M each year for both Scherzer’s and Stephen Strasburg‘s deferred payments.
- 2029, 2030: Scherzer’s payments drop off, leaving just Strasburg’s $10M/year.
$196M total, and five straight years of $25M right off the top going to deferred payments. Now, there is a silver lining in that Scherzer’s *entire* 2019, 2020 and 2021 salaries are deferred, leaving roughly $30M each year unspent and thus allowing the team to (in theory) use those dollars in those years to augment the roster. And the same happens for Strasburg’s deferred salary; his entire 2019 salary of $30M is deferred in 2019 and again in 2019, meaning that the team should have use of those dollars in their budget for those years. So there’s that.
But man, 2024-2028 better see a significant change in the financial landscape of the league, else $25M off the top of dead money could be crippling. That’d be 1/6th of their general payrolls that they’ve been running lately. To put that into perspective, there’s a recurring theme about the Nats behavior this off season that seems to imply that the team isn’t willing to fork over the dollars required to buy the upgrades it needs, especially at closer. Well, if the team is payroll strapped at $150M … what happens when $25M of that is dead money? Is $125M going to be the new norm in those years? Are we assuming that the MASN RSN mess is magically going to be solved by then?
Food for thought. Not an issue for now … but potentially a big issue later.