The Nationals’ short-term chances of contending are paramount for the franchise, owner Mark Lerner hinted during a chat with reporters (including The Washington Times’ Amanda Comak) at the team’s Spring Training camp. The club’s payroll is now over $100MM and while they don’t want to go overboard with spending, “this is a
special year,” Lerner said. “We have obviously incredible talent and there was a
couple parts that [general manager Mike Rizzo] wanted and we said, ‘Do what you need to do,’ and that’s basically how it happened.” Lerner said the Nats are focused on the next three seasons and aren’t yet concerned about keeping Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in Washington long-term. The two young stars are team-controlled through the 2016 and 2018 seasons, respectively.
Here are some more items from the Nats’ camp…
- Also from Lerner, he said that he and Rizzo would “talk when the time is right” about a contract extension. “I think this is the place where he wants to make his home and we
certainly want him to be here, so I’m sure we’ll come to some
understanding at some point in time,” Lerner said. Rizzo’s contract is only guaranteed through this season but the Nationals hold options on the GM for 2014 and 2015.
- Kurt Suzuki hasn’t talked to management about a contract extension but says he’d love to remain with the Nats beyond this season, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports. Washington holds an $8.5MM team option on Suzuki for 2014 that right now seems unlikely to be exercised since Wilson Ramos is waiting in the wings at catcher. It’s possible the Nationals could decline the option and still re-sign Suzuki at a lower price.
- Also from Ladson (Twitter link), the Nationals had interest in Chris Young during the 2010-11 offseason but didn’t sign him after seeing the MRI results of Young’s throwing shoulder. Young had another injury-plagued season with the Mets in 2011 but rebounded to make 20 starts in 2012. The Nats signed Young to a minor league deal today.