The Washington Nationals are apparently one of nine teams in violation of Major League Baseball's debt service rules, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. This means the Nationals have a debt that is over 10 times the amount of their annual earnings.
The other eight teams with this distinction, according to the report, are the Dodgers (no surprise), Mets (no surprise), Orioles, Cubs, Tigers, Marlins, Phillies and Rangers.
It's not exactly clear how big a deal this really is, because ultimately it's on commissioner Bud Selig to make a judgment call on whether the debt violation is serious enough to be a problem going forward. Former commissioner Fay Vincent finds the news "troublesome," but he finds everything troublesome. If the debt issue is a short-term blip, then it's nothing to be concerned about. If there's potential for the debt to be a serious long-term problem, like with the Dodgers and Mets, then it's a serious problem.
At this point, we have no clue whether the Nationals' situation is a short-term or long-term one. So for now, let's file this away and see where it leads.