Nats Send Message To Harper: We Don't Need You

Based on their reported offer, the Nationals have no interest in re-signing Bryce Harper

Ferrall On The Bench
November 08, 2018 - 8:27 am

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The Washington Nationals reportedly offered Bryce Harper a $300 million contract with no opt-out clause.

Is that believable?

“Yeah, I definitely believe that,” Washington D.C.’s The Fan mid-day host Grant Paulsen said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I think while nationally a lot of people are making this out to be an introductory offer for the Nats to jumpstart a negotiation, I believe this to be their one offer and the end of the negotiation. It is my belief, and it has been for a while, that they would do what they had to do to – save face might be overstated – but make it appear as thought they made a valiant effort and a real attempt to resign him.”

Harper, 26, could command more than $300 million on the open market. He could also get an opt-out clause.

“I think this offer says, ‘If you want to come back to the Nationals, we’re happy to have you back – but we don’t need you and we’re not desperate to have you back,’” Paulsen said. “They have prepared for life after him. They feel like their outfield is in a real good spot even without him. And while they’d be thrilled if Bryce Harper wanted to stay for cheaper than he could get on the open market, they basically made an offer to be able to say they made a one-time exchange in the negotiation and they didn’t just let him walk – so they could tell their fans, ‘We tried.’”

Paulsen said that Harper, the 2015 NL MVP, is “a game-changer when he’s healthy,” but he hasn’t been healthy enough to be consistent. He’s been boom-or-bust in his career and has hit below .250 in two of the last three seasons.

Still, the talent is undeniable.

“I think he deserves whatever he gets on the open market. I think he’s going to get a record amount of money,” Paulsen said. “But it’s not going to be in Washington. This is complete speculation, but I think he’s going to end up with the Phillies. It’s just been my hunch all along. I didn’t think the Yankees make a lot of sense, definitely not after they made the trade this past offseason for Giancarlo Stanton. I would say that the Dodgers are absolutely an option. I wouldn't rule out the San Francisco Giants as a sleeper. I don’t think the Cubs would bring him in. I don’t buy that because I don’t think you can sign him and then re-sign (Kris) Bryant – and I’m not sure why you would choose Harper, who’s never done anything for you, over a guy who’s helped bring you a World Series and is a fan favorite. 

“The Phillies, for me, would make a lot of sense,” Paulsen continued. “They’ve got the money, they’re on the precipice of potentially overtaking Washington in the National League East, they need offense, they need power, he’s tailor-made for that ball park – I just think it would be a really good fit and make a ton of sense.”