Washington Nationals: Learning From The Chicago Cubs

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Jun 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker (R) talks to general manager Mike Rizzo before the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker (R) talks to general manager Mike Rizzo before the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

DOLLARS AND SENSE

When the Rickets’ bought the Cubs and placed Epstein in charge of the Cubs, they opened the bank vaults.

At the time that was risky with Epstein. In trying to keep Boston in the hunt, he signed Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to horrible contracts, damaging his reputation.

Outside of Jason Heyward, Epstein has done a masterful job in spending smart money. See Zobrist as an example.

The Nats do not have an endless supply of money. With their complicated television deal with the Baltimore Orioles, they receive a certain amount of cash in a season and a growing ownership share of MASN. Because of the agreement between the Orioles and Major League Baseball, the Nationals will never own more than 1/3 of the channel.

Instead, Washington has to be more creative in how they spend money. Although they cannot compete with the glitz of Los Angeles and the mystique of New York, they can offer a competitive team in a growing market, provided the highest of salaries is deferred.

Although they can sign top talent such as Max Scherzer, the Nationals are not a destination team. They need to be frugal while playing competitive baseball.

With three divisional titles in five years, the Nats are doing something right.

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