Nationals Rumors: Nats still in on Bryce Harper after December meeting

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Bryce Harper #34 during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Nationals Park on July 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Bryce Harper #34 during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Nationals Park on July 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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The calendar has turned over and Bryce Harper is still unsigned. The latest Washington Nationals rumors reveal the team is still in on their homegrown star.

The future of Bryce Harper is still unclear right now, but there could be perhaps a reunion with the Washington Nationals. The latest Nationals rumors indicate that the two sides have still kept an open dialog.

Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post recently reported that Ted Lerner met with Harper and his agent Scott Boras just before Christmas. There was also a report earlier in the day from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that stated the two sides have held several meetings this offseason.

This appears to be in stark contrast to reports earlier in the offseason where Mark Lerner said he didn’t expect Harper to return. Clearly, with the meetings, and the timing of those meetings, there does seem to be some level of interest on the Nats’ side as well as Harper’s.

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It’s still unclear whether the Nationals’ interest is still on the terms they discussed at the end of the season, or whether the team’s priorities have changed. On the last day of the regular season, the team reportedly made a 10-year $300 million offer and seemed unwilling to budge from that valuation.

The market for Bryce Harper also seems to be thinner than many anticipated at the start of the offseason, as several teams have ruled themselves out. Notably, the New York Yankees have not made Harper a priority, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs don’t appear to have the financial flexibility to make the record-breaking offer the superstar outfielder is seeking.

That could then leave the door open for the Nationals to make a similar offer to the one they reportedly made in September. While that offer, with no opt-outs, still falls short of what Harper’s side wants, it may be close to the best they are likely to receive and could be open to slight negotiation.

After their early offseason flurry, it’s obvious if the Nationals want to bring Harper home, they will need to blow through the luxury tax threshold to do so. While the Lerner’s have been adamant not to do so, it’s still entirely possible they may be willing to make an exception for someone who could be the face of the franchise. Their recent meetings confirm that it’s something that is at least under consideration.

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It’s entirely possible that Bryce Harper will not end up signing a contract until just before Spring Training at this rate. Expect plenty more Nationals rumors on the subject as the Nats still appear to be firmly in on the outfielder.

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