The Washington Nationals are very much still in the running for Bryce Harper. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Harper has met with the Nationals’ representatives multiple times to discuss contract negoatiations.
That’s a stark contrast from what principal owner Mark Lerner said last month when he insisted the Nationals wouldn’t go beyond the $300 million, 10-year offer Harper rejected before the end of the season.
Harper’s free agency could go into February according to Passan. The Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago White Sox are the lone known teams willing to give the top free agent a 10-year deal. Harper is willing to wait until he lands an offer he deems suitable.
As reports and other moves have suggested teams possibly backing out of the Harper sweepstakes, the Nationals’ chances may increase, in one’s guess.
There are plenty of theories behind the Nationals still being in for Harper. Maybe their $300 million offer is the best offer and Harper is simply struggling to find suitors to match?
Or maybe, the competitors’ offers have not outgrown the Lerners’ willingness to entertain?
Nonetheless, Passan is in the know, and if there have been multiple meetings between both sides, it at the very least makes the Nationals a viable play in retaining Harper’s services.
At 26 years old, Harper is arguably the most-coveted MLB free agent since Alex Rodriguez. While Washington’s winter moves have suggested they are prepared to move on from Harper, signing left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin to a $140 million deal, adding two catchers, two relievers, and Matt Adams, they still have a card at the very least.