Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy put on trade waivers
By Blake Finney
On Saturday, it was reported that the Washington Nationals put a bunch of players, including Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, on revocable trade waivers.
The Washington Nationals‘ season continues to hold pat and not get any better in a hurry. While the likes of Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper stay hot, they still sit at seven games back in the National League East and six back in the Wild Card race.
If things don’t get any better for them, then it’s, in theory, possible that they may look to explore waiver trades at the end of the month.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that they made the first step towards that by putting some players on revocable trade waivers after Friday’s game. He named Harper and Murphy specifically, but it’s safe to assume they put a vast amount of their current team on as well.
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First off, while they have put these players on waivers, it doesn’t mean that any trade is imminent, or even at all likely. It’s pretty common practice for teams to put as many players through trade waivers as possible in order to give them options should a proposal come through.
As well as the fact the team is probably doing this just for flexibility moving forward, a trade isn’t likely anyway. With the way waiver trades work, if anyone were to claim any of the players, that team would essentially have exclusive negotiating rights for a trade.
If a trade can’t be worked out with the claiming team, then the player can either just be sent to the claiming team, with them picking up all of that player’s salary, or the player gets pulled back from waivers and can no longer be traded.
With Murphy and Harper both surging at the plate, it’s highly likely that a team would put in a claim and be happy with a scenario where they eat the salary. There’s also the factor that the Nats won’t want to damage any relationship with Harper if they plan on re-signing him in the winter. So they wouldn’t simply let him go to any team for salary relief purposes.
This would then restrict the Nationals to only negotiating a trade with the team that claims each player. It’s difficult to know which teams would try to claim the two stars, but it’s entirely possible someone like the Dodgers could claim either to prevent any of their rival contenders getting those players.
We also saw at the non-waiver trade deadline that the Nats clearly weren’t satisfied with any of the tentative offers they did get for Bryce Harper. That stance is unlikely to change now with an extra few weeks in the book.
While Murphy wasn’t floated out there at the end of July, the same applies in that the Nationals would need to be blown away. He would be most valuable to an American League team that can DH him, but with NL teams getting priority in the waiver order, a deal there also seems unlikely.
Again, the Washington Nationals aren’t likely to deal Bryce Harper or Daniel Murphy before the end of August. However, it is at least a vague possibility if they clear waivers.