Washington Nationals: Hint dropped over Bryce Harper extension talks?

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 08: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on September 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 08: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on September 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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It’s never too early for Bryce Harper contract talk to start swirling, but did Mike Rizzo drop a hint towards contract talks with the Washington Nationals?

You may have heard, but the Washington Nationals have quite a big pending free agent on their team. Bryce Harper is up for renewal after the 2018 season, and his future has been the subject of much debate recently.

Lately, it’s actually felt like the Nationals might be creeping towards the top of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. It’s been pretty clear that Mike Rizzo wants to bring him back if at all possible, so could a deal get done?

Well, on his weekly radio interview with The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan, he may have dropped a subtle hint. When asked about any details of the negotiations between the team and Harper he said he “won’t discuss it until there’s something to announce.”

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This quote feels particularly interesting coming from Rizzo, who is generally pretty careful with his words. You may remember when discussing a possible Harper trade at the deadline, he said it would take “a spectacular set of circumstances”. He definitely didn’t rule trading the superstar at the deadline, wanting to see if someone would blow them away.

And then recently when he was asked about manager Davey Martinez’s future, he said: “I haven’t considered any other scenario”. Another carefully worded answer that means he just hasn’t gotten around to deciding on the manager’s future ahead of the 2019 season.

So by saying that he wouldn’t discuss it unless there’s something to actually announce it makes it sound like there are currently ongoing discussions. And while nothing is likely to be announced before the end of the season, at the very least, it’s good to know that there is a genuine mutual interest in getting a deal done.

For all the criticism Harper’s agent, Scott Boras gets for his work, he gets the job done and usually does right by the player. So if the outfielder has realized that he wants to stay in the nation’s capital after the Home Run Derby, or the other countless occasions this year then Boras will do what he can to make it happen.

And in another hint that’s been dropped in recent times, Bryce Harper himself spoke on MLB Network’s The Rundown. And he also seemed to drop yet another hint about wanting to stay in D.C. long-term in the video below.

After singing the praises of his fellow outfielders Juan Soto and Victor Robles, Harper offered up an interesting quote too. Talking about the future, he said: “It’s gonna be an exciting future for the Nationals, and we’ll see if I’m in those plans”.

It feels like he keeps going out of his way to make a point about wanting to stay with his current team. Obviously, he shouldn’t be locking in on one team, that would be foolish. But, if he prefers to stay here, then it may just be a matter of time until a long-term deal gets done between the two sides.

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It feels like the majority of Washington Nationals fans would want Bryce Harper back, but only at the right price. If a deal can’t be worked out, then the team would be more than happy to roll with Soto, Robles and Adam Eaton.

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