Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Holy Cow Scherzer!


Wow.  Photo via Scherzer's twitter account.

Wow. Photo via Scherzer’s twitter account.

Nats sign Max Scherzer to a 7yr/$210M deal.  Which, as noted in the rich comment thread on the previous post, occurred while I was away and could not properly analyze.

Well, so much for “payroll is topped out.”

Now it seems like the ownership narrative is going to be, “Mr. Lerner just turned 90 and didn’t buy this d*mn team so they could only just win the division a couple of times.”

Which, as a fan who is still scarred by the Jim Bowden years, when a $68M payroll was astronomical and our GM was shopping in the bargain basement/rejects line in the free agency trough, is pretty liberating.  I guess this is sort of what it feels like to be a Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers fan in some ways.

I have various thoughts, not having a chance to have read all the comments and all the analysis pieces out there.

  • Apparently the contract is actually structured as $15M a year for 14 years, as opposed to $30M a year for seven.  Man; that’s one heck of a pension plan Scherzer just got for himself.
  • I agree with those that believe this is an insurance move that makes the inevitable departure of Jordan Zimmermann a bit less of a loss.
  • Bummer for Tanner Roark if no subsequent moves are made; all he did was post a frigging 5 WAR season in 2014.
  • I like Scherzer now … but man i’m worried about what he’ll look like in 5 years.  There’s little to zero track record of long-term FA pitchers working out when signed to 9-figure deals.  Trust me; I’ve got a huge spreadsheet as proof that these things almost never work out.  So I think its fair to say that I am happy to have him (of course), but that i’m worried that this will bite the Nats going forward.
  • Yet another example of Mike Rizzo a) picking up a player he originally drafted, and b) doing a deal with the devil, er I mean Scott Boras.  At least the Nats aren’t on the hook for $30M/year clogging up their new “payroll ceiling,” whatever it is.
  • Given the track record for starters going from the AL to the NL … i wonder if we’re about to see a season that looks something like this: 18-5, 2.20 ERA and 280 Ks in 220 innings.  Scherzer’s already at 10.3 K/9 and now he gets to face the Pitcher, a weaker division in the NL East and no DHs.  Can he get to 300 Ks?

How would you lineup our rotation?  Probably Strasburg, Scherzer, Zimmermann, Gonzalez and Fister.  You have to put the lefty in the middle of the rotation, right?

Is Roark wasted in middle relief?  Yeah he is.  But … now the team has its best 6th starter option in its bullpen ready to go, instead of calling up somebody from AAA.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Are we still going to see another move?  Maybe.  Not so much driven by payroll, but by function.  If the team is really fed up with negotiating with Zimmermann, then you move him for what  you can now.  And you’ve just replaced him like-for-like, for actually *less* money in 2015 than he was set to make (conveniently ignoring the $105M in “pension” payments Scherzer will be making for nearly a decade after he’s finished this contract).

Lets say the team does move Zimmermann; the 2015 rotation would be just as good as the 2014 rotation, but the team would presumably would have a couple more nearer-to-the-majors prospects received in return for Zimmermann.  Not the worst situation to find our selves in, given the FA losses the team faces after 2015 and 2016 (3/5ths of its 2014 rotation).  Scherzer bridges the gap and gives the team a solid guy for years to come as the next wave of starters makes its way to the majors (Cole, Giolito, Fedde, Lopez in perhaps that order).

31 Responses to 'Holy Cow Scherzer!'

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  1. Coincidentally, without any other moves I’ve got the Nats 2015 payroll now projected at $163,391,000. That figure breaks down as:
    – $115,971,000 for signed contracts, now including Scherzer’s 2015 $15M figure
    – $36,300,000 for arbitration awards/negotiations/estimates. Only Jerry Blevins remains unsigned out of this group and i’ve estimated his salary at $2m.
    – $9,120,000 for the 18 pre-arb players; most of these are figures right around $500k for each guy, hence $9.1M for 18 players.
    – $2M for LaRoche’s 2015 buyout.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jan 15 at 11:02 am

  2. There are a few considerations that I wanted to add here….

    1) Scherzer’s ethic and preparation are legendary. This establishes him as a leader of the pitching staff and a great example for the younger pitchers and others on the team. In that regard, he either supplements Fister as a great team guy or he replaces him. In any case, it would be great to see either Strasburg or Zimmerman or both elevate their ceiling by learning from him.

    2) I agree that Roark is wasted in the bullpen, especially with a bullpen that remains as deep as is the Nats. But I feel like as a cost controlled player who may have an even higher ceiling with experience, he should be in the rotation, especially with Fister and Zimmerman unsigned.

    3) The great unknown of this discussion is the team’s willingness to give a nine figure contract to a TJ pitcher. I suspect that a more relevant closer look would be at the longevity, meaning high level production, of pitchers following TJ #1. The Nats are in unchartered territory with Zimmerman and Strasburg and may feel that they are one pitch away from being Kris Medlen and having no trade value. That is a far greater risk than a nine figure contract to a headliner like Scherzer. For all the statheads discussion about regression and stuff like that, no one is dealing with the elephant in the room — the high production of the TJ survivor. And how many years one can bet on health, let alone production. Look at how far Taylor Jordan’s value has plummeted overnight. That is surely part of the thinking. In that regard, I would expect that Nats to part with Zimmerman reluctantly, having replaced him as a PR move with Scherzer — the right character and health profile — betting that he will actualy more likely make it to seven years than JZimm.

    4) If that is not the Nats thinking, I cannot help but feel, knowing how folks are obsessed with lefty-righty balance, that Gio is the trade to make. He is party to two playoff failures and has a team friendly contract. He was a Cy Young candidate three years ago but none of us expect him to win 20 games. Why not think of his return as comparable to that of Cole Hamels — who is a far more costly starter who has not had that much greater success recently?

    5) So much still depends on Desmond’s threshhold for signing. If he is looking for 150 million and is willing to bet on himself, then they have to replace him now with the trading to come. I feel like that is where this is headed; they obviously were able to work out a deal with Scherzer fast enough, so the fact that Desmond remains unsigned speaks volumes to me. And letting him go for a QO is not the answer.

    6) As for roster management, there is a difference between trading from strength and trading for strength. No deal at this point should be made without a blue chip coming back in return. The Nats had the most chips before they signed Scherzer, and now they have more. At this point, the only upgrades are stars and players who can step in now, or players who will step in as stars a year from now.

    7) I am not picking on Escobar by circling back to say that the Nats made this deal knowing they were going to get Scherzer. Why didn’t they get Scherzer first, then trade Clippard as the earth was moving under the baseball world with the earthquake of the reaction? The answer will come by spring training.

    8) Another reason the “utopian” status quo is unsustainable is the progress of Treinen, Cole, Ross, Jordan, and Giolito in 2015. With six starters, one or more of those players, by late 2015, will demonstrate that he has no business being in the minors and might have a high enough ceiling to make the Nats rotation. It is obvious to us now. But then, no one ever pegged Tanner Roark for where he is now in July 2013.

    9) Two of the most important deals in recent years were three way; the Nats needs are so particularized that if there are players that they specifically want who are cost-controlled stars, they can construct the “elaborate” trade to bring that player and players to DC. There is no point guessing on targets, because Rizzo always surprises us. I think the off season will continue to be loud, and the loudest boom may be yet to come, with more than two teams involved.


    20 Jan 15 at 12:05 pm

  3. Longtime reader, not very often poster.

    Anyways, my pipe dream is trade Strasburg (and maybe even AJ Cole if we need to) to the Cubs for Kris Bryant, have Rendon play 2nd and then proceed to burn down NL Eastfor the next few years.

    A few more points:

    1. Don’t get the rush to sign Desmond to a long term extension. If he loses even a little speed or a little power, he’s Ryan Howard playing shortstop. Don’t think he’s worth that risk.

    2. Strongly agree with forensicane’s guess that Nats are extremely reluctant to give out top $$ contracts to TJ survivors. Seems smart to me, particularly given the lack of success from pitchers who go under the knife for 2nd, or even 3rd, procedures.

    In Rizzo I Trust, so I’m sure he’ll work things out for the best.


    20 Jan 15 at 1:41 pm

  4. One thing I forgot to mention; do you think there’s an impact on the clubhouse if the team is willing to shell out $200M+ to Scherzer but balks at spending $100M or so on one of its own homegrown guys? This is pure conjecture since we don’t know what the team has or hasn’t offered Zimmermann … but you have to think the players will take notice.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jan 15 at 2:08 pm

  5. Well, they did lay out over $100M for Ryan Zimmerman. FWIW.

    John C.

    20 Jan 15 at 3:19 pm

  6. Todd, my assumption is that they have offered JZimm $150MM+ and that he has turned it down. Rizzo has said he was making offers to JZimm but I’ve heard nothing about counter-offers. I have to believe that JZimm wants to reach free agency, and that most of his teammates know this.

    Andrew R

    20 Jan 15 at 4:23 pm

  7. 6yrs/$150M is $25M AAV, on a par with the best paid pitchers in the league outside of Kershaw make. I love Zimmermann; but he’s not a cy young winning $25M/year guy. Yet. 7yrs/$150M is $21M/year AAV, closer to Matt Cain, Tanaka, Hamels, etc. That seems right. If indeed Zimmermann got these offers and turned them down, then no wonder the team did what it did.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jan 15 at 4:29 pm

  8. As much as I think Scherzer’s contract is an overpay, it’s best to remember he’s still on his 1st elbow, while Zimmermann is on his 2nd.

    Don’t know if the Nats are thinking that way, but it has to be a factor.

    Mark L

    20 Jan 15 at 5:46 pm

  9. The second elbow thing has been mentioned on this site several times in reference to whether J-Zim or Stras is worth the risk of a big extension. It is curious, however, that a team that has made its name in the business with careful pitcher rehab is reluctant to risk really big bucks on those guys.

    Part of the job of a general manager and a manager are to “manage” the bruised egos of the guys who feel like they’re not getting the monetary love of the team. Look, both Desmond and Zimmermann have had long-term offers from the Nats. They turned them down. It’s not like the Nats stiffed them. But the Nats have moved on, with Escobar and Scherzer, putting a lot of handwriting on the wall. However, if J-Zim and Desi don’t get moved, they’re playing for contracts and for a ring, so motivation shouldn’t be a problem.

    Per Todd’s posting above, with the Nats at $163.5M, I can’t help but think that subtracting J-Zim’s $16.5M gets them under 150. It’s not what I would prefer to see happen, but sometimes business is business.

    As for the Scherzer deal, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite since I’ve spent much of the winter saying that the Nats shouldn’t hamstring themselves with multiple big contracts for guys entering their 30s. But I love the deferred aspect of this. Look, in seven years, $15M is going to be about what $7M is today; it will be small potatoes in everyone’s $200M+ budgets. The Nats aren’t really going to suffer too much in the 2020s for this, and it’s brilliant for them now. They’re still left with the flexibility to give one other big contract. If it were $30M a year now, I would be screaming, but I think this is great.

    All the detail aren’t yet known. I’ll still bet there is an opt-out after three or four years, so it might not even end up being a nine-figure deal if it’s three years.

    I like the Kris Bryant idea, but the Cubs would be the ones having to add more to their side of the scale to get an established near-superstar like Stras, not the other way around. There are plenty of can’t-miss guys who do miss.

    Not sure why our friend Forensicane keeps wanting to trade Gio. His wonderful contract is one of the core reasons that the Nats have the flexibility to make the moves that they do.

    As for “now what,” I really feel like unless a trade would net a significant hitting upgrade for the present, I’d stand pat, unless they have to move J-Zim for budget reasons.


    20 Jan 15 at 6:41 pm

  10. After some time to get used to it, I like the deal. But I like it for somewhat different reasons than I usually think about things.

    I have been a little worried that the uncertainty over future revenues (MASN) would make them unwilling to spend big dollars on players. I know Werth and Zim, but that was back when MLB was telling them on the side it would all work out, and advancing them $25m on that basis. Things look different now, but this deal removes any question about their commitment to spend. People can keep bringing up the ‘Lerners are cheap’ argument, but it has no credibility. As a fan, that’s great news. That is everything we could ask for.

    Whether it’s spent on Miracle Max, or Stras or JZ, sure I have my preferences but … well maybe I am just getting old, but they know better than me, and they want to win too. So if Rizzo picks Max over the other guys, they either think he is better, or JZ and Stras didn’t want to sign with us. So I am good with it.

    But Rendon, now they better sign that guy or I am outta here …….:)


    20 Jan 15 at 6:46 pm

  11. I mentioned the elbow thing on Harpers site, not sure if here. But I heard Jim Duquette say it on MLB radio. No $100m contract has ever been given to a guy with an existing TJ. Wainwright was the most, at $90+m. I didn’t check it. And I think it could be consistent that the foremost risk takers in TJ don’t think it’s a great risk the second time around. But we don’t know if this is what the Nats are thinking. My gut tellsme that Stras has never been willing to talk extension, and JZ was there for the taking at the beginning of last season, but the combo of the low ball plus the exploding market for salaries made him determined to hit FA. But that is just guessing.

    As for what now, I still can’t come up with a preference. I am kind of good with keeping them or ok trading any of them for someone who can be a line up guy alongside Harp, Zim and Rendon. Stras is really the only guy who can bring that back. My current favorite is to COL for Arenado, Dahl and a guy or two out of their lower minors.


    20 Jan 15 at 7:29 pm

  12. Revisiting one of my thoughts above, why would Max opt out at $30M per? Who is going to pay him more than that in his mid-30s, unless he really is Miracle Max?

    It’s hard to believe in the discussions with Boras that someone didn’t say “we’d do the same deal for Stras.” Whether both sides took it seriously, I don’t know.

    My long-term priorities for extensions would have Harper and Rendon well ahead of everyone else. But, like Stras, they’re Boras guys, making it hard to plan around them.


    20 Jan 15 at 8:03 pm

  13. Ok, thought of another ‘next move’. JZ to CLE for Ramirez, Salazar and Swisher. Hear me out! They not only get JZ plus a comp pick, but they get out from under Swisher’s salary, which could be a big deal to them. That is why we get Salazar, who’ll either be back to a rotation guy or lights out in the pen (thinking playoffs) and Ramirez who is a quality MI piece somehow thrown into the mix. We might choke on the $$, but it’s kind of a wash in 2015, and we have room in 2016.

    Who says no?


    21 Jan 15 at 8:23 am

  14. Zimmermann to Cleveland deal; if he gets traded now (as in, before the season starts), can he still get offered a Q.O.? I think so, but if the season starts and he gets moved … no Q.O. So the Nats *have* to flip him now if they’re going to flip him or he loses a ton of trade value.

    Those three guys might be too much. Though your argument about salary relief for Swisher makes sense. And he’s lefty off the bench, which we need. Not sure which Ramirez you’re talking about.

    Todd Boss

    21 Jan 15 at 10:11 am

  15. Jose Ramirez, rookie SS last year. Good D, hit better than expected in ~200 PAs. But I think Lindor is ready to get promoted, so they arguably don’t need him.

    If you have him for the full season, you can offer Q.O. So any time up to the first game.


    21 Jan 15 at 10:36 am

  16. Some useful perspective on the value of prospects as the whole world (or at least everyone on FanGraphs chats) proposes trades with the Nats:

    Swisher: I’ve generally liked him through his career, and he’s the type of veteran bat who could really help the Nats. However, he fell completely off the table last year, so you have to wonder whether he has anything left. That, plus I don’t think the Nats would want to take on his salary.

    Here’s my pitch: JZ, Span, and Taylor Hill for Carlos Gomez. The Nats save $17.5M this year while picking up an all-star. He doesn’t hit lefthanded, but that’s the best I’ve got right now.


    21 Jan 15 at 12:41 pm

  17. I think it serves the Nats better to wait before making any trade, just as it has served them to wait until now.

    But again, no trades except ones that bring back at least one blue chipper (top prospect or player who will start for Nats) in return.

    For one, Shields is still on the market and whomever does not get him will have perceived need. And the Nats have the inventory.

    As spring training approaches, and once pitchers and catchers report, there is bound to be an injury somewhere in baseball. When, for example, the Braves got hit last year, they were forced to act. There is no Santana out there waiting to be signed once Shields is off the market. That will be an extra push for what the Nats can get.

    I am not in a hurry to trade Gio. I would rather Tanner Roark be in the rotation than Gio, and rather Roark be in the long term plan than Gio. And I think that if someone does go who can fetch a big haul, Gio fetched the haul from the Nats, and would be worth more now, especially with his contract situation.

    I also feel that the Nats are well served by bundling Desmond with a starter if (and only if) the target and return is a long term affordable all-star caliber piece in the starting lineup who is ready to step in now (at 3B or 2B). There are other chips as well, like Taylor Hill and Taylor Jordan and the excess lefty or righty bullpen arm.

    There are the makings for a multiple player, multiple team deal. Timing continues to be everything. Especially with teams that have been quiet and can clearly upgrade.


    21 Jan 15 at 12:54 pm

  18. Sorry, I meant all-star caliber pieces at 3B or 2B and at SS.


    21 Jan 15 at 12:58 pm

  19. Part of me knows that prospects would be good for the future health of the franchise, but it’s hard to see giving up all-star-quality players like Zimmermann, Desmond, or particularly Strasburg for wannabes when the Nats are so close to (perhaps) going all the way. That doesn’t make sense to me. If you can get a star in return, fine. If we end up with Miller and Walker, I may toss my computer! (I hope Escobar’s arrival will end the Miller nonsense.) I don’t want Betts or Baez for Stras. I want an established young star, or two.

    But frankly, despite the buzz, I’d be shocked if they trade Stras. He’s sort of one of the faces of the franchise, and it will be very hard to get full value for him.


    21 Jan 15 at 8:59 pm

  20. I’ve had 2 days to think about this deal and I’m now of the opinion that Roark MUST start. It’s hooey to have such a talent wasted in the pen when he just had a ridiculous season starting. Someone must be traded to either give Roark a spot in the rotation, or Roark should be traded (assuming Rizzo thinks a regression is in order). Is the difference between Stras/Zimm and Roark so great, that it wouldn’t justify bringing in a few top prospects? Especially in this weakened NL east? #dontwasteroark

    Andrew R

    21 Jan 15 at 9:28 pm

  21. Roark isn’t wasted. First of all, he’s likely to get half a season of starts. Last year the Nats had very good pitcher health (terrible position player health, but oh well). But even then three other pitchers (other than the top 5) made a total of 13 starts. In the meantime Roark has pitched very effectively out of the ‘pen. And has already stated that he’s quite prepared to go to the ‘pen if that’s what the team needs.

    Beyond that, Roark is needed for after two starters possibly depart after this season and one more after next. This Scherzer deal is more about the long term than short term, by my reckoning.

    John C.

    22 Jan 15 at 12:09 am

  22. We have perfectly acceptable rotation depth in Treinan, Cole, etc. To “Lann-wiler” Roark this year would be malpractice on Rizzo’s behalf. I agree trading Roark is not the best answer bc we need him in 2016 and beyond, so we should trade one of Stras/Fister/Zimm. If he’s not going to get a new top 2B, then he can get some strong prospects in return.

    Andrew R

    22 Jan 15 at 12:17 am

  23. I’m with Andrew on Roark. Going even beyond Lannan and Detwiler, here is a healthy and extremely affordable starter whose ceiling is yet to be defined and whose early career results are better than those who would supplant him! I cannot see the team risking his regression by jerking him around.

    The team has telegraphed the coming trading by its aggressive prospecting for relievers. If Roark is going to the bullpen, exactly where would the Nats be using the pitchers they acquire at contracts far in excess of, say, AJ Cole and even Craig Stammen?

    And with this rotation, how much would Roark really pitch in long relief? He would rot.

    Scherzer made an interesting comment in the presser when asked about the prospect of pitching with Fister and Zimmerman. He made the respectful comment, but then inexplicably pivoted and complimented what he’d heard from Rizzo about the team’s young pitching. Why would the young pitching matter if Zimmerman and Fister and Strasburg are due for long term contracts?

    A deal of this complexity was done. The Nats spoke about having their plan at the outset of the offseason, and sure implied that Scherzer was part of it. That certainly explains the silence about negotiations with Desmond, Zimmerman, and Fister.

    So I think Roark will be in the Nats or someone’s starting rotation this year, and something “elaborate”, as Rizzo termed it, will come in due time.


    22 Jan 15 at 2:02 am

  24. Roark, Gio, and Treinen aren’t going anywhere; they’re 60 percent of the 2016-17 rotation. Treinen had noted a few weeks ago that he had been told that he would be “stretching out” in the spring, presumably in the “sixth starter” role, but that may change if they want him in the eighth inning competition. But a trade among JZ/Stras/Fister would have Roark back at five and Treinen back at six.

    I’ve heard nothing to indicate that they could get good value for Fister, so I doubt he’s going. It’s not impossible that they would trade Stras, but it would only happen in the type of mega-deal that you rarely see, so it’s unlikely. Zimmermann would be the most likely of the trio to go if a trade is made, for personnel, value, and financial reasons.


    22 Jan 15 at 5:14 am

  25. Fister – I agree his trade value is the lowest of the group. I look no further than he was traded twice for unremarkable packages, and now he just has 1 year left. I think he stays and then leaves, and is on the bubble for a QO.

    Znn/Fister/Stras/Desi/Span – my hunch is that no one gets extended, and maybe 1 gets traded this offseason. I think Rizzo has positioned himself perfectly as ‘I’ll keep these guys unless you wow me; my payroll isn’t busting’. Of all of me, Span may be closest to being extended. If Taylor flops in AAA, and Span agrees to 4/$50mish, I could see it. Maybe, I flip flop on this one.

    Roark – first, I think Rizzo would have no problem putting him in the pen for a year, if that’s how it plays out. I think Roark still has an aura of ‘I don’t quite believe you yet’ around him, both inside and outside the org. His numbers imply a cheap superstar with 5 years of control, but I just don’t see him bringing that back in a trade. I don’t know what more the guy can do, other than to keep doing it for another season or two. But, and I’ll probably get jumped on for this, I think he falls into the back end starter category in most evaluators minds, and that is how he’ll be treated. But he is a valuable guy for us, and I bet Rizzo holds on to him until he has a clear view of the next rotation.


    22 Jan 15 at 10:27 am

  26. New details coming out about the contract:

    I like it less now, but what can you do? I know we’re hoping against hope that it turns out OK. It looks like they’ve planned to keep the “window” open through 2018 by keeping the pain low, then they are going to take huge hits after that, with three years at $35M as Max fades out. The Werth contract does run out after 2017, but Harper will be a FA as of 2019, just as things get steep with Max. RZim’s pay also peaks in 2019-20. Rendon hits FA in 2020.

    I don’t see how they would be able to do a 6- or 7-year deal for Stras or J-Zim on top of this. Perhaps Fister would take a shorter deal through 2018, but I doubt it. He’ll be looking for more security. So yes, they’ll be hanging onto Gio, Roark, and Treinen for dear life, while also praying for Cole, Giolito, and Lopez. The Scherzer deal seems almost as much a bet on that last trio as it does on Mad Max.

    Oh well. We’re all in with him, like it or not, so let’s get a couple of rings out of the deal and hope the resulting increase in ticket prices will pay for the Harper extension.


    22 Jan 15 at 9:54 pm

  27. KW- I don’t see how that info changes anything we previously thought about the contract, it is just a number for salary cap purposes (ie counting towards luxury tax purposes). Seems nothing more than a planning mechanism for avoiding the luxury tax, unless I misunderstand. They are still just paying $15m in actual cash throughout the 7 years he pitches plus 7 more. I suppose, if we try to speculate why they did it this way, it could even be thought of as a positive signal: they held off the big salary increase until Werth was gone so that it gives them room to add more salary without bumping up against the tax, then they catch up when his contract is gone (and Gio, presumably). Those 7 years of $15m beyond the contract certainly be a drag on payroll, but hopefully the economic conditions in baseball at that time will make it less onerous than it would be right now. I remember how ARI got into trouble with deferred money to Schilling and RJ. Rizzo was there then, and hopefully can plan for it this time around.


    23 Jan 15 at 8:49 am

  28. Here’s a hasty sketch of the big contract obligations over the next seven years – Scherzer, Werth, and RZim. I know the RZim number isn’t that big comparatively for most of the years, but it’s a constant. These are contract numbers only, not including the Scherzer bonus payments (I don’t know how those are counted toward “salary.”) Anyway, this is Scherzer + Werth + RZim:

    2015: $45M (+ final arb yrs for JZim/Desi/Fister)
    2016: $50M (+ final arb yr for Stras)
    2017: $50M
    2018: $29M (Werth off; final arb yr for Harper)
    2019: $53M (+ final arb yr for Rendon)
    2020: $53M (or $2M buyout for RZim vs. $18M)
    2021: $35M (just Max, in final yr)

    So the level of obligation for this trio will remain fairly constant, as (presumably) payroll and revenues increase a bit each year. So there should still be some flexibility to do some things.


    23 Jan 15 at 9:12 am

  29. Todd Boss

    23 Jan 15 at 7:45 pm

  30. Looks like a good opportunity for Clip to get some saves on the resume’ in his contract year. If Doolittle comes back healthy, Billy might still try to flip Clip (sorry, couldn’t resist) at the trade deadline to a team in need of a closer.

    In other former Nat news, I see that Ohlendorf just signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers.

    Speaking of such deals, I’m impressed with the level of guys the Nats have signed this offseason. Nearly every one of them has put up serious numbers somewhere at some point, either in the majors (Uggla, Carp, Stewart, Meek) or high minors. Whether they would eat the Frandsen and particularly the McLouth contracts would remain to be seen if some of these guys are clearly better, but at least there should be some serious competition in Viera for the final spots.


    24 Jan 15 at 7:29 am

  31. Count me among those still convinced another big deal is coming. But the Nats will have to be patient and wait for injuries to other teams and poor spring performances that light a fire under other GMs. Especially since there are starters on the market who are cheaper (than JZimm) and free agents.

    The Nats have depth and have added a lot of competition for bench spots and “next man up.”

    The key is for the Nats to stay healthy in the spring, so other moves aren’t forced.


    25 Jan 15 at 1:43 am

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