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Posted at 10:21 AM ET, 01/18/2012

A look at where the Nationals’ payroll stands


(Matt Slocum - AP)
After yesterday’s arbitration-avoiding deals and exchanging of figure, the Nationals have their clearest picture yet of their 2012 payroll, or at least what it will look like without Prince Fielder.

They still need to determine 2012 salaries for John Lannan and Michael Morse, both of whomthey filed salary figures against. For these purposes, let’s assume they win the $5.7 million and $5 million they filed for, the most-expensive case for the Nats. Based on some back-of-the-envelope arithmetic, then, the Nationals’ 2012 payroll sits at a little less than $75 million at the moment.

With a couple more holes to fill before spring training, like another bench bat and a reliever, it should end up somewhere just shy of $80 million – unless, of course, the Nationals sign Fielder.

The Nationals have not publicly addressed what they see as their payroll limit, so we really don’t know what the figure means in regard to the rest of their offseason or their run at Fielder. We do know they have a restructured contract with MASN on the way that could deliver an extra $30-60 million or so, but it still remains unclear when exactly that TV money would arrive.

If the Nationals’ payroll in 2012 settled around that $80 million figure, it would be an increase of about $12 million from last year. But it would still fall about $6 million short of the 2011 median MLB payroll.

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