The Nationals-Orioles broadcast rights fees dispute could lead to a new network

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The Nationals and Orioles have had a longstanding dispute over cable rights fees. Both teams have deals with MASN, but Peter Angelos owns MASN, and he and the network have been fighting with the Nats, who claim that they are getting less money for their broadcast rights than they deserve.

So far negotiations haven’t gone anywhere, but Major League Baseball may have a solution:

Major League Baseball has asked a private investment bank to seek potential new owners for the rights that are now held by the regional sports network controlled by Orioles owner Peter Angelos. Allen & Co., a New York-based investment bank, is seeking buyers to acquire the two franchises’ broadcast rights from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

And once they had them, they’d set up a new Nats-only network.

All of this, by the way, is the result of the dealmaking that MLB did with Peter Angelos when they moved the Nationals into the Orioles’ territory, so it makes sense that MLB step in and try to solve this rather than sit back and take its usual passive approach.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.