MAXED OUT MONEY
It is clear to anyone that pays attention that the Nationals have a payroll ceiling of around $170 million next year and the foreseeable future.
Part of that comes with the bad television deal they have. Although they have both an ownership stake and a rights fee from MASN, the partnership with the Baltimore Orioles is not equal. Unless Major League Baseball steps in, it never will be. As teams venture into cable network ownership or new megadeals, the Nats are stuck with the deal brought from Montreal.
To get around that, and keep Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg happy, future contract money is deferred. Yes, it is wonderful players want to do that, but it hurts the future bottom line when you are paying contracts for players who retired years ago. The New York Mets are STILL paying for Bobby Bonilla.
Not all players will take money later to play now. With more money on the table, it is easier to opt-out after a year or two and try again. If you can get $30 million guaranteed next year compared to a $20-10 solution, you are taking the money now, not in 2030.
That reality leaves the Nats in a no-win situation.