Nationals Rumors: Bryce Harper race could be down to just two teams
By Blake Finney
The race for Bryce Harper appears to be down to just two teams, though things still appear to be quiet in terms of Washington Nationals rumors.
After the Washington Nationals signed Brian Dozier, things appear to have been quiet on the Nationals rumors front. But in the meantime, the field for Bryce Harper appears to have been narrowed down further today with a different free agent finding a new home.
Earlier on Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a deal with free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock. Buster Olney of ESPN later followed up by reporting the deal is worth a minimum $55 million over the first four years, with a player option for $10 million in the fifth year.
While the annual average of $13.75 million doesn’t rule out Harper, it’s the fact that they went out and acquired an outfielder for the same length they would’ve been interested in Harper that seemingly does rule them out. Adding Pollock and Harper would create a huge headache in the outfield for them.
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Jim Bowden of The Athletic seems to think so too, as he speculated that the only two teams seemingly in the Bryce Harper race were the Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies. While there are still rumored to be mystery teams involved, it would be surprising if the outfielder didn’t end up signing with one of the two NL East teams.
The Phillies recently met with Harper two weeks ago now, but there still hasn’t been much movement from them, with no reported offers just yet. The Nationals have also had no movement on their front since Harper and his agent Scott Boras met with Ted Lerner after the Winter Meetings. Stalemate.
The team with an outside shot at Harper appears to be the Chicago White Sox, who seem to be focused on fellow free agent Manny Machado right now. However, if Machado chooses to go to the Phillies, then the White Sox could easily move onto Harper as their potential big marquee, rebuild-busting free agent signing.
It now looks like this needless drama will drag on into February with teams preparing to have players report to Spring Training. Remember, last year, JD Martinez didn’t agree to sign with the Boston Red Sox until February 19th, eventually coming down to the Red Sox price range. Things could change in an instant, but right now, this saga looks to drag on further.
Keep an eye on District on Deck for more Nationals rumors. After all, the Bryce Harper sweepstakes have to end soon, right? Right? For fans’ sanity, we hope so.