There’s a belief across baseball that the Nationals’ affinity for deferring money in contracts has somewhat hindered their pursuit of talent in free agency and could negatively affect them down the line as they attempt to avoid the luxury tax, according to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. “They’re unique. They’re the only team that operates like this,” an agent told Svrluga, who adds that team ownership won’t comment on its methods. The Nats are set to pay their newest addition, reliever Joe Blanton, $4MM on a one-year deal, but he’ll collect that money through 2019. Among far more expensive examples, starters Max Scherzer (signed through 2021) and Stephen Strasburg (2023) will be on the franchise’s books and through 2028 and 2030, respectively.
More from Washington and two other NL cities:
- Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy has long been a control artist, which makes it rather startling that he walked 26 batters in an injury-shortened, 40-inning 2016. McCarthy returned from 2015 Tommy John surgery and also dealt with a hip issue, but it was a case of the yips that led to his spike in walks – including 15 over 8 1/3 innings (three starts) from Aug. 2-13 – as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes. “I think most of it was mechanical,” McCarthy said. “Usually, if you get the shanks in golf, something has gone wrong physically in your swing, and you lose your mental feel for what you are trying to do. It becomes sort of a self-fulfilling thing. I think that was really the extent of it.” McCarthy made a late-season mechanical adjustment and is optimistic the issue is behind him. The 33-year-old is now entering the penultimate season of a four-year, $48MM contract, but he’d have no qualms about retiring and leaving money on the table if he were to lose his desire to pitch. “The day where the motivation is not there to come in and do it, I have no problems ‘Gil Meche-ing it’ and just walking home and leaving it,” said McCarthy, referring to then-Royal Gil Meche’s decision to retire in 2011 and abandon a guaranteed $12MM. (For more on players who have battled the yips, check out FanGraphs’ Travis Sawchik’s piece from earlier this week.)
- The Mets are doubling down on last year’s roster, writes the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who notes that they’re likely to open the season with 25 players who were on their team in 2016. “It doesn’t feel it’s stale, it feels as if we have consolidated our gains,” general manager Sandy Alderson said of the club’s roster, which managed 87 wins and a playoff berth last season despite myriad injuries. Of the 55 players the Mets invited to camp, just three weren’t in the organization a year ago, and the only newcomer who has much of a chance to make the team is left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, per Sherman.
- The Nationals are doing their due diligence on Eric Gagne as the former star closer looks to emerge from his yearslong retirement and return to the majors. Nats special assistant De Jon Watson was on hand at Dodgers camp Saturday to watch Gagne throw, relays Shaikin, who tweets that the right-hander topped out at 91 mph. Now 41, Gagne averaged just over 92 mph on his fastball in 2008, his latest major league action.
Stretching Blanton’s money, given how small it is, just seems to be an oddity. I can understand the urge to defer in Strasburg and Scherzer’s cases. .
They’re both crazy. Blanton’s is completely unnecessary, and paying a player 7 years beyond when his contract is up is insane. Maybe it’s like 2 million a year so it would result in a little less than one year of Strasburg being deferred, but I feel like they probably defer a ton of the money owed.
Unrelated interesting tidbit: Red Sox ST commentators just said that Bartolo Colon has been around long enough to outlast a stadium. He’s the last pitcher who pitched for the Expos, and his career started the same time Turner Field opened, which he has now outlasted.
Ole Barto…He will be missed (and are the Great Expos).
Lol of course it is
Why do the nats keep doing this
I think they keep doing it, at least in part, because their MASN money is tied up with the issue between the O’s.
Also probably some of it is because they plan to sell the team before the end of some of those.
Unless there’s some reason to expect unusual revenue increases (or reduction of other salaries) in the “out” years, or you’re close to the luxury tax line, the only reason to defer money is to borrow (with interest) from future payrolls, i.e., team is tight on money for this year but still wants to sign guys. Players and their agents aren’t stupid, so the the amount will be the same in present value terms as what they could just pay now. Practice suggests that the “real” payroll (for then current players) is expected to come down at some point, perhaps when a window for competing for championship closes.
If baseball had a real commissioner and not a “yes” man, then I think this practice would be banned or monitored/limited. Putting future burdens on the franchise past a players time with the team, is not in the best interest of the long term fans.
He should trademark that quote, “Gil Meche-ing it.” Lol with all the other former players names that have been used to bookmark pioneer moments in game. The Mendoza line, Tommy John Surgery, Lou Gehrig’s disease, etc. When a pitcher retires and leaves guaranteed money on the table we will just refer to it as Gil Meche-ing it, when a position player does it we can either call it Michael Cuddyer-ing it or Adam Laroche-ing it. Haha
Gagne back on juice
I knew my Mets hadn’t done much this offseason, but Jesus! How did Alderson fill his days? Was it just 8 hrs of lowball offers & rejections for 4 months?
Didn’t you see that Sandy filled his offseason days “consolidating their gains” ?
For example, see how he improved the superfluous Jay Bruce / injured David Wright situations.
SA’s quotes sound more and more like what you read in a second-rate committee report.
Is he just waiting for the golden parachute?
He spent it resigning Cespedes, Blevins, Salas, Walker and not giving up any of his pieces in his Top 10 ranked farm system.