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Judge confirms that Orioles owe Nationals $296.8 million for TV rights

Judge confirms that Orioles owe Nationals $296.8 million for TV rights

NEW YORK -- A judge has confirmed an arbitration decision from baseball executives ordering the Washington Nationals to be paid $296.8 million by the cable network they jointly own with the Baltimore Orioles for their television rights from 2012-16.

The Orioles and Nationals jointly own the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and have been fighting in court for years about how much money Washington is owed under their unusual TV rights arrangement.

The Orioles had asked New York Supreme Court Justice Joel M. Cohen to reject the arbitration decision, arguing that the executives on the arbitration panel were compromised by conflicts of interest. But Cohen said there was no reason to throw out the arbitrators' award, and he also ruled Thursday that the Nationals were entitled to interest on the money they have yet to be paid. The question of how much interest the Nationals are owed will be decided by a court official known as a special referee clerk.

MASN was established in March 2005 after the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington and became the Nationals, moving into what had been Baltimore's exclusive broadcast territory since 1972. The Orioles have a controlling interest in the network.

MASN paid the Nationals for 2012-16 what the Orioles proposed: $197.5 million. Washington argued it should be paid $475 million. A previous arbitration panel ruled that the Nationals were owed $298.1 million, but that decision was thrown out by a New York court after an appeal by the Orioles. The second panel ordered a slightly lower payment of $296.8 million.

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Why Gerardo Parra signed with the Yomiuri Giants

Why Gerardo Parra signed with the Yomiuri Giants

The Nationals officially lost one of the most recognizable players from their World Series run Wednesday when Gerardo Parra signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league for $2.5 million with a $3 million vesting option for 2021.

Hosts Tim Shovers, Todd Dybas and Chase Hughes discussed Parra’s departure on Thursday’s episode of NBC Sports Washington’s Nationals Talk podcast.

“I’m sure there’s some marketing aspect of this involved in the whole thing too after what happened here in D.C. last season but his chances of getting a major-league job next year were very, very low and this just makes sense at this point in his career,” Dybas said.

Parra’s contributions to the Nationals’ clubhouse were immeasurable, but he struggled at the plate for most of the year. The 32-year-old hit just .234 in 119 games between the Nationals and San Francisco Giants, posting a subpar .684 OPS with just nine home runs.

After securing his first World Series title, Parra made the decision to sign with whatever team offered him the most money—even if that team resided on the other side of the globe.

Even though Parra won’t be on the Nationals next season, the legacy of his walkup song “Baby Shark’ won’t be quick to fade from the hearts and minds of D.C. fans.

“I think it’ll definitely live on,” Hughes said. “I’ll tell you what I hope it’s not a constant a thing, like don’t make it the seventh-inning song. It was fun but let’s keep in mind that that song is also kind of obnoxious if overplayed.”

Both Dybas and Hughes agreed it’d be fitting for Washington to fly out Parra for Opening Day next year, when the players receive their rings, and have him throw the first pitch. You can catch the rest of the episode, including a breakdown of what might be Anthony Rendon’s final season in the District, on Art19, Apple Podcast, Spotify or wherever you bet your podcasts.

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How the Yasmani Grandal signing could affect the Nationals’ catching plans

How the Yasmani Grandal signing could affect the Nationals’ catching plans

The first free-agent position player came of the board Thursday, when two-time All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal signed a four-year, $73 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. It was a significant move for the Sox, who failed to lure top free agent Manny Machado to the South Side last offseason and complement their slew of prospects making their way to the majors.

While the Nationals weren’t rumored to be in on Grandal, there was a potential fit in D.C. if Grandal was willing to split time between catcher and first base. However, the eventual price tag was likely above Washington’s comfort zone, so it’s no surprise the team wasn’t in the running for his services.

But now that Grandal is locked into the starting catcher job in Chicago, the White Sox are left to decide what to do with the All-Star catcher they already had employed behind the plate.

James McCann played 118 games for the White Sox last season, hitting .273 with a .789 OPS and 18 home runs as he earned his first selection to the Midsummer Classic. Never considered a reliable bat in Chicago before this year, the White Sox could take advantage of his value and deal him to a team in need of catching help.

The Nationals fit that bill. Kurt Suzuki is signed for $6 million to play for the team next season, but he hasn’t played a full season since 2015 and will be entering his age-36 campaign in 2020.

Unless Washington is comfortable turning to unproven catching prospect Raudy Read to split time with Suzuki behind the plate, the team is likely on the hunt for a low-cost option to play a similar role to what Yan Gomes did in 2019. MLB Trade Rumors projects the 29-year-old McCann to make $4.9 million in what will be his last year of arbitration before hitting free agency, making him an ideal match.

The free agent market isn’t flooded with many other options at backstop either. Names such as Alex Avila, Jason Castro, Francisco Cervelli, Robinson Chrinos and Travis d’Arnaud are all available, but each is older than McCann and none of them are coming off a season as successful as his.

Chicago could of course opt to hold on to McCann, but his value has never been higher and the team gave former top-100 prospect and No. 10 overall pick Zack Collins a taste of the majors last season. If the White Sox do decide to deal him, the Nationals would certainly be well-suited to give them a call.

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