In the midst of a trying 2018 season, the Washington Nationals are a game under .500 at 52-53, six games back from their division and a wild-card spot, and reportedly franchisee Bryce Harper at buy the close , According to Marc Feinsand of MLB.com, the Nationals are listening to Harper.
According to one source, the Nationals announce to other teams that Bryce Harper is indeed available.
– Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 31, 2018
Harper is a free agent at The End of the Season and is expected to break records with his next store, making him similar to a rental for 201
– MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) July 31, 2018
Fine sand, as well as many others, have made it clear that the Nationals are not sure they want to sell Harper But with their season aiming to fail to make the postseason, and Harper conquering the free-lance market this winter, GM Mike Rizzo is likely to appreciate the market, looking for an overpayment for two months from Bryce Harper.
Sources confirm: #National sends "feeler" on Bryce Harper. "I would be shocked if they did," says one competitor. "You see, if anyone wants to go crazy." First with the news that Harper was available: @chelsea_janes and @Feinsand .
– Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2018
The 25-year-old outfielder has a somewhat backward year and cuts with 25 home runs and 62 RBI .220 / .369 / .473, but even with a below average line, Harper will not come cheap. It would be a return similar to the one the Dodgers had to give up for Machado, but unlike the Orioles, the Nationals are still a solid team without Harper and probably expect to compete again next season.
That means this is good news for the Cubs as the Nationals would have a package of MLB-talented players more responsive to Harper in exchange. But still, the cost would still be high and would have to start with a player like Ian Happ and would likely include a player like Cubs best pitcher Adbert Alzolay recovering from a trapping injury in Arizona.
However, it's doubtful that the Cubs would make a deal for Harper, it costs them everyone on the 25-man list, making any possible trade between the two teams unrealistic.
Harper is more likely to finish the season in Washington DC and seek his big payday this winter. But if Harper is being traded to a team that is not the Cubs, it's still good news for the Cubs, as they will not lose a layoff decision as compensation if they convince Harper in the off-season on the north side to play .
With less than a day to go before the close, it would be a tremendous effort for the Nationals to seriously consider moving Harper, and to announce it in time, it's probably a last-ditch attempt on a team hoping to get desperate enough to pony for Harper. But as long as Harper is traded to a National League contender like the Dodgers or Brewers, the Nationals who move their franchisees are a win for the Cubs.