Nationals finished with seventh-highest payroll in 2020

The Nationals finished the 2020 season with the seventh-largest payroll in Major League Baseball, down three slots from their position during their World Series run the previous year but still leaving them among the sport's biggest spenders.

The Nats paid out a grand total of $76.2 million to all players on their 40-man roster this season, according to figures obtained and published by the Associated Press on Saturday evening. That ranked seventh in the majors, behind the World Series champion Dodgers ($98.6 million), Yankees ($83.6 million), Mets ($83.4 million), Astros ($81.4 million), Cubs ($80.6 million) and Padres ($76.3 million).

Scherzer-Delivers-Gray-Camden-Yards-Sidebar.jpgThe Nationals finished the 2019 season with MLB's fourth-highest payroll at $205.3 million, the closest they've ever come to leading the league in spending, en route to the franchise's first title.

The 2020 totals for every club, of course, dropped by a significant amount because players were paid only a prorated portion of their full-season salaries, based on the 60-game schedule that eventually was imposed by MLB following a long shutdown during the early stages of the pandemic.

Had they played the full 162-game slate, the Nationals' 2020 payroll total would've been $205.7 million, nearly identical to their 2019 total.

It remains to be seen how the lost revenue from a shortened season with no fans in attendance impacts next year's payroll. General manager Mike Rizzo, speaking to reporters last week, admitted things are still "fluid" while MLB and the MLB Players Association try to negotiate terms on the 2021 season but insisted the Lerner family has committed the resources necessary to contend again.

"With conversations with ownership, we feel that we have the budget to get a championship-caliber club," Rizzo said.
For now, the Nationals have committed $111.6 million toward 10 players already under contract for the 2021 season: Max Scherzer ($34.5 million), Patrick Corbin ($24.4 million), Stephen Strasburg ($23.5 million), Will Harris ($8 million), Starlin Castro ($6 million), Yan Gomes ($6 million), Daniel Hudson ($6 million), Joe Ross ($1.5 million), Josh Harrison ($1 million) and Sam Clay ($575,000).

They have two arbitration-eligible players whose salaries have yet to be determined in Trea Turner and Juan Soto who could combine to earn roughly $20 million next season. The remaining payroll will come from players with less than three years of service time who will earn close to the league minimum salary ($575,000) and any new players they acquire via free agency or trades.

The Nationals have finished with a top-10 payroll every season since 2013. Three times during that span, they've finished in the top five (2015, 2018, 2019).

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