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.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.