Continued from page 1

The team will gain some relief after the 2014 season when the expensive contracts of reliever Rafael Soriano and first baseman Adam LaRoche — a combined $26 or so million — come off the books. That will seem like chump change when the bigger bills come due. The Nats’ payroll certainly isn’t going to come down in coming seasons, not if they want to remain one of the game’s elite teams and retain a chunk of the core that got them there.

Things are much more enjoyable with the Nats as one of the best teams in baseball rather than one of the worst. The 100-loss days are in the rear-view mirror. This will be the third season the Nats can be considered among the game’s best, even with last year’s playoff miss. They may be the best team in the game right now.

But getting to that level has a price and nothing lasts forever. The Braves chose not to try and keep catcher Brian McCann, a seven-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger award winner who is now a Yankee. The Yankees lost the game’s best second baseman and maybe its best player, Robinson Cano, to the Mariners in free agency.

Things change and they will change here, too. How is the question we can’t answer yet.