The Washington Post

Is it a big deal that the Nationals aren’t in compliance with MLB’s debt rules? Not really.

A report in today’s Los Angeles Times revealed the Nationals are one of nine teams not in compliance with baseball’s debt service rules, which generally specify a team’s debt be no greater than 10 times its annual earnings.

Should it be a concern that the Nationals are on that list? Well, from what I can gather, no, not really.

The debt service rules exist as a benchmark and a guideline to help teams monitor debt, not as a hard-and-fast baseball law. At any given moment, multiple baseball sources said, it is not uncommon, worrisome or all that important for a team to be considered out of compliance with them.

As MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred told Bill Shaikin of The Times, “To take a snapshot of the number of non-compliant clubs at a point in time can be very misleading.”

The Rangers, Mets and Dodgers have all experience massive upheaval in the past year because of monetary and debt issues. The Lerners are among the richest – if not the richest – owners in baseball. They are not about to join the three teams with disastrous finances. “We’re healthy,” one team official said.

The teams listed along with the Nationals were the Rangers, Mets, Dodgers, Phillies, Orioles, Tigers, Cubs and Marlins.

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.


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