Nats payroll up slightly, Scherzer has top MLB salary in 2019

Even with Bryce Harper coming off the books, the Nationals entered the season with one of Major League Baseball's largest payrolls and the sport's highest-paid player for 2019.

The Nationals' opening day payroll of $185 million ranks fifth in the majors, behind the Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers, according to the Associated Press' annual calculations. The payroll total is up slightly from last year's $180 million figure, which ranked fourth in the league at that time.

Scherzer-whips-blue-sidebar.jpgMax Scherzer, meanwhile, technically counts as MLB's highest-paid player this season at $37.4 million, a total that is discounted because it is deferred with no interest. The only money Scherzer actually takes home in 2019 are two payments from his signing bonus totaling $15 million.

Stephen Strasburg, with a salary of $30.7 million for payroll purposes, ranks fifth in the majors this season, behind fellow pitchers Scherzer, Zack Greinke, David Price and Clayton Kershaw. With deferrals, Strasburg also only takes home $15 million in actual payments this year.

Though they saw several high-priced players from their 2018 roster (Harper, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez, Matt Wieters, Ryan Madson) depart in the last year, the Nationals still saw their opening day payroll go up, thanks to the offseason additions of Patrick Corbin ($12.9 million salary in 2019), Brian Dozier ($9 million), Aníbal Sánchez ($8 million), Yan Gomes ($7 million) and Trevor Rosenthal ($6 million).

The Nationals' official payroll for luxury tax purposes currently stands at $197.7 million, according to That leaves the club with approximately $8.3 million of wiggle room to add over the course of the season while still remaining under MLB's luxury tax threshold of $206 million, a goal managing general partner Mark Lerner and general manager Mike Rizzo both have insisted they intend to realize after exceeding the luxury tax each of the last two years.

Here's the full player-by-player salary breakdown for the 2019 season, using Spotrac's formula (which also includes prorated signing bonuses, deferred money and buyouts):

Max Scherzer: $37,405,562
Stephen Strasburg: $30,700,000
Anthony Rendon: $18,800,000
Ryan Zimmerman: $18,000,000
Patrick Corbin: $12,916,666
Brian Dozier: $9,000,000
Adam Eaton: $8,400,000
Aníbal Sánchez: $8,000,000
Yan Gomes: $7,083,333
Sean Doolittle: $6,000,000
Trevor Rosenthal: $6,000,000
Kurt Suzuki: $4,000,000
Trea Turner: $3,725,000
Matt Adams: $3,000,000
Kyle Barraclough: $1,725,000
Jeremy Hellickson: $1,300,000
Tony Sipp: $1,000,000
Justin Miller: $593,200
Wilmer Difo: $581,100
Juan Soto: $578,300
Matt Grace: $576,400
Wander Suero: $562,500
Andrew Stevenson: $559,100
Victor Robles: $557,800
Jake Noll: $555,000

Howie Kendrick $4,000,000
Michael A. Taylor $3,250,000
Koda Glover $564,300

Joe Blanton $2,000,000
Rafael Soriano $2,000,000
Sammy Solís $141,666

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