Bryce Harper was, at one point, one of the most-untradable players in baseball. The former National League MVP's status has changed heading into this year's MLB trade deadline, though.
The Washington Nationals' All-Star outfielder is set to be a free agent this winter. At this point, it's probably more likely than not that he will be playing for a new team in 2019. The Nats are going to try to re-sign him - probably - but even if they are the favorite to land him, it's at a percent lower than 50.
With the Nationals 7 games back in the NL East, there's talk that the reigning division champs could be sellers at the deadline.
Could Bryce Harper be someone the Nats sell?
The Washington Post broached the idea today.
This is personal. It’s more than just a baseball transaction. This gets to the core of the sport here. When Harper first came to the majors six years ago, he helped spark an upstart team to its first division title. Just last week, he won an emotional Home Run Derby in the only home park he has ever known. This is fabric-of-the-franchise stuff.
But isn’t it possible there could be, as Rizzo said, “a spectacular set of circumstances”?
Manny Machado, the other franchise-changing free agent on the market this coming offseason, was already traded, and his presence in Los Angeles makes it feel like the Dodgers are now the team to beat in the N.L. — unless another National League team were to make a serious play for Harper.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was actually asked about the possibility on the radio.
"It would have to be a spectacular set of circumstances for us to do that," Rizzo said in an interview this week on 106.7 The Fan. "We’re going to do what we have to do to better this team for 2018 and beyond. That’s one of the superstars in the game and he’s a guy that is near and dear to my heart personally, and in Washington, D.C., and is one of the great players in the game."
The Nationals' future this season might come down to this weekend's series in Miami. If Washington can win 3 or 4 games against the Marlins, they probably won't be selling anything. However, if the Nats lose 3 of 4 - or, gulp, are swept - the selling will begin. And that selling could potentially include Bryce Harper.