The Nationals and Jayson Werth adjusted the veteran outfielder’s contract to defer $10 million of his $21 million 2016 salary with interest, according to the terms of the contract. According to a Fox Sports report, which first mentioned the change in the terms Thursday, Werth and the Nationals adjusted the contract last fall and the money will be paid in 2018.
Because of the deferral with interest, Werth will earn an extra $1 million.
Deferring money has become a common practice for the Lerner family. Although Werth’s seven-year, $126 million deal didn’t originally include deferrals, the Nationals have now included them in deals for Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Daniel Murphy and Rafael Soriano.
The motivation for Werth’s deferral isn’t known, but it allows the Nationals to shift around money commitments over the years. According to Baseball-Reference.com, the Nationals’ 2016 payroll sits at $145 million. By moving $10 million of that into 2018, the Nationals give themselves more flexibility now. Without factoring in the deferral, the Nationals have $78 million committed in 2018, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Werth is due $21 million in 2017, the final year of his contract. The soon-to-be 37-year-old was hitting .222 with six home runs, 20 RBI and a .711 OPS through 37 games this season entering Thursday.
Barry Svrluga contributed to this report.