Even though some people want to rule out a return to D.C. for Bryce Harper, the latest Washington Nationals rumors indicate the Nats are still active.
We’re now into February and the bidding for the services of Bryce Harper still has no end in sight. But the latest Nationals rumors seem to indicate that the Washington Nationals are still very much in the hunt to bring back their homegrown superstar.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that there are four teams still “active” in the race for the superstar outfielder, including the Nationals. The other three teams are the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, and the San Diego Padres.
The Padres, in particular, are interesting as they finally seem to have come out of the shadows as a mystery team. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the team’s brass met with Harper and his agent Scott Boras in Las Vegas yesterday.
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However, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that this meeting seems to just be “extended due diligence” on the Padres part. Acee indicates that their interest in Harper isn’t quite to the same extent as their interest in fellow free agent Manny Machado, who fits the team’s needs much better.
It’s possible that this meeting between San Diego and Harper’s camp may get things moving a little quicker in terms of finally finding the outfielder a new home. It would put them in a similar spot to the White Sox and Phillies in being interested in both marquee free agents, and even before accounting for the Nats’ interest in Harper, there are now more teams interest than players available. Something has to give.
Though there haven’t been any other significant developments from the Nats in their pursuit of Bryce Harper, it’s worth noting that they are still active, even if it is unsurprising. Bob Nightengale of USA Today has seemingly been adamant in trying to rule the Nats out of the running in favor of the Phillies, but it’s clear the metaphorocal door is open.
In the end for the Nationals, it’s going to come down to an ownership decision by the Lerners as to whether they should pony up the money. It’s hard to imagine Ted Lerner letting Harper go to the division rival Phillies if the offer is still somewhat in the realm of possibility for the Nats. All it takes is one phone call from Boras and everything could come together in a hurry.
Bryce Harper will continue to be the main story for the remainder of the Washington Nationals offseason. We’ll be keeping on top of all the Nationals rumors as Spring Training approaches and the team puts the final touches to its roster.