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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ payroll talk; More Nats and J.T. Realmuto chatter + Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Washington Nationals news while we patiently wait for the start of Spring Training...

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As noted in one of the links below, Washington’s Nationals currently have the fourth-highest payroll in the majors, and that doesn’t seem to be counting deferred money, which counts in terms of the luxury tax threshold.

We’re now long past days of the “Lerners are teh cheep” allegations. At least most of us are.

Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo, in the MLB Network Radio interview we have been mining for content all week, was asked if the fact that the Nats are currently a few million dollars over the luxury tax threshold would affect their ability to spend this season if they find they have any needs they have to address.

“The ownership here has been terrific with me,” Rizzo said.

“They’ve always given me the resources to do the job that we have to do and to win as many games as we can, so I don’t see that changing. We’re in constant contact. I talk to Ted Lerner, our primary owner, several times during the week in the offseason, and we have a great relationship. I think he’s very informed and knows what it takes to win, and like I said, the resources have been there throughout my tenure here, so I don’t see that discontinuing.”

So the Nationals are like totally going to sign Jake Arrieta and trade for J.T. Realmuto, right? Go read some links...

NATS BEAT:

Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto's agent makes clear client wants to be traded
"The Marlins have been considering offers for Realmuto but have been holding out for multiple high-end prospects."

Nats won't push Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy
"Both left fielder Adam Eaton and second baseman Daniel Murphy are coming off knee surgeries, and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said this week the plan is to take it easy on them."

Former GM compares Victor Robles to "an Andrew McCutchen" type player
"The player comparison I put on him was body-type, movement of an Andrew McCutchen, a young Andrew McCutchen obviously."

Better, worse or the same in 2018: Pitchers
"Today we’ll look at the pitching staff, with five slots for the starters and then four generic bullpen roles..."

MLB NEWS:

Collusion charge is a stretch, but MLB is facing a real problem
"Players both already under contract and not currently under contract are 'outraged,' Van Wagenen wrote, and 'there is a rising tide among players for radical change.'"

Baseball payrolls could drop for first time in nearly a decade
"Currently, the Yankees’ $161.8 million payroll sits behind the Boston Red Sox ($204.4 million), San Francisco Giants ($194.5 million), Dodgers ($185.4 million), Washington Nationals ($178.3 million) and Los Angeles Angels ($166.3 million)."

Agent says MLB players could boycott over ‘outrage’ at slow-developing free agent market
"Baseball’s simmering labor dispute over this winter’s extraordinarily slow free agent market escalated sharply Friday when a prominent player-agent accused owners of “coordinated” behavior to depress the market — otherwise known as collusion..."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies focus on future at annual meetings
"Of course, the Phillies are still discussing roster construction and if they might find help for the rotation before Opening Day."

Mickey Callaway already has a plan to revitalize Mets’ rotation
“'If you look at our starting pitchers,' Callaway told The Post, 'there are 25 teams out there that would love to have who we have. So we can make adjustments along the way.'"

12 prospects who will make an impact in '18
"3. Luiz Gohara, LHP, Braves (49): Gohara went from the Class A Advanced Florida State League all the way to Atlanta in 2017 as he started to transform himself from a tantalizing hard-throwing lefty to a complete pitcher."

Marlins' arbitration rulings: Justin Bour wins, J.T. Realmuto loses; both get raises
"At least a dozen teams reportedly have had discussions with the Marlins about Realmuto, with the Washington Nationals making a strong push to acquire the talented young catcher..."