Nationals payroll “beyond topped out”

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Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner says the team’s payroll is “beyond topped out”, per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Lerner added, “Our payroll has skyrocketed to like $140 million. It’s in the papers. I don’t think we can go much further with the revenue streams that we have.”

Jayson Werth ($20.57 million), Ryan Zimmerman ($14 million), Rafael Soriano ($14 million), and Adam LaRoche ($12 million) account for a large portion of the current payroll, at 44 percent. Lerner says the team will be more cautious in spending based on the team’s revenue. Kilgore adds that their future spending could also be determined by the direction in which negotiations over TV rights goes with MASN.

The Nationals’ payroll has skyrocketed after their 2012 success, going from $92.5 million to $118 million, then up to $135 million for the 2014 season.

Dominic Smith likely to start the season at Triple-A

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Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.

Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.

Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.