It appears Bryce Harper’s time with the Washington Nationals has come to an end.
On the day the franchise introduced pitcher Patrick Corbin after he signed a six-year, $160 million deal, the news came from managing principal owner Mark Lerner in an interview on 106.7 The Fan on Friday. Lerner was asked about Harper’s future and the reported 10-year, $300 million offer now-free agent Harper turned down at the close of the season.
The 26-year-old slugging outfielder, drafted No. 1 by the Nationals in 2010 and super-agent Scott Boras are looking for something a little more historic when it comes to the new contract, history the Nationals apparently aren’t keen on making.
“Well, when we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ We went right to the finish line very quickly,” Lerner said. “And we said, ‘If this is of interest to you, please come back to us and we’ll see whether we can finish it up.’ But we just couldn’t afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that.
“If they choose some other place, I totally understand. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for Bryce and [wife] Kayla and their family. But we have no hard feelings about it, I must say. I love Bryce and he was a good teammate here. If he chooses to go someplace else, I totally understand it, but we put one heck of an offer out there.”
The usual suspects are rumored to be in the hunt for the eight-time All-Star and 2015 NL MVP, including the Yankees, Cubs and Phillies. The Cardinals’ interest may have lessened after their acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt earlier in the week.
According to Lerner, however, the Nationals, barring a change of heart from Harper and Boras, are out of the running.
“If he comes back, it’s a strong possibility that we won’t be able to make it work,” Lerner said. “But I really don’t expect him to come back at this point. I think they’ve decided to move on. There’s just too much money out there that he’d be leaving on the table. That’s just not Mr. Boras’ M.O. to leave money on the table.”
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