According to several sources, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been checking in with the Washington Nationals to see what it might take to land Bryce Harper as per The Sporting News. While there is no guarantee that Washington will trade Harper, if it is going to happen, the word is it will happen this weekend. The Nationals have been shopping players other than just Harper, just in case they decide they are sellers this trading deadline. They have been primarily dropping the names of Kelvin Herrera, Shawn Kelley, and Ryan Madson, according to Bleacher Report.
Harper will be a free agent this fall, and whoever signs him may potentially have to offer one of the most lucrative contracts in baseball history to land him according to NBC Los Angeles. The Nationals maintain that they plan to make a serious offer, so trading Harper now may make that task a little more difficult when the fall rolls around, even if they can sell Harper on the concept that dealing him now will make the team stronger if he returns. For Los Angeles, in snagging Harper, they can land a big bat, albeit an inconsistent one this season. There is also the dilemma of the luxury tax cap for Los Angeles, which would be problematic this year, and would definitely require major restructuring over the winter, especially if they plan to make a bid for both Harper and Manny Machado, as per Sportsnaut.
The bigger question is, if Los Angeles can get the Nationals to agree to trade Harper, what will the cost be? It is known that Washington will demand crown-jewel prospects, and maybe an affordably priced player or two currently on the Dodger’s 25-man roster that are also under club control. Washington is not going to give away one of the game’s biggest stars, a 26-year-old former MVP and six-time All-Star, for a song, and it is not likely they will assume any big contracts in return.
Sources: The Washington Nationals have started discussions with teams to gauge interest if they decide to sell. Of particular interest are Kelvin Herrera, Shawn Kelley and Ryan Madson, three free-agent-to-be relievers. Nats are telling teams they’ll know by end of weekend.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 26, 2018
The other thing to consider is that the Cubs and Yankees have suddenly become potential suitors for Harper as well, which can only make L.A. getting a deal done more expensive. The Cubs have settled a pitching issue by acquiring Cole Hamels, and they do need a big bat and figure to make a bid for Harper when he becomes a free agent. The Yankees have just lost a pair of big sticks in the lineup with Gary Sanchez likely out until September, and Aaron Judge out three weeks with bone chips. Those two factors make Washington even more powerful at the negotiating table when requesting talent from Los Angeles. If they plan to sell, most analysts say this weekend is the time to get a deal done.