Bryce Harper, at just 25 years old, is one of the hottest stars in baseball right now and is heading into an offseason that will see him hit open free agency. Now, it appears that he may not have to wait until the offseason to change teams.
According to a report from Mark Feisand of the MLB website, the Washington Nationals are gauging trade interest in Harper.
“With back-to-back losses to the Marlins this weekend, there’s some thought the Nationals should sell prior to the trade deadline. General manager Mike Rizzo was said to be on the fence about selling prior to the four-game split in Miami. The big question is whether they’ll consider trading franchise icon and outgoing free agent Bryce Harper. Recent indications are that they may indeed be moving in that direction.”
A trade may not seem likely, but there are quite a few teams that will make aggressive pushes to acquire him.
Washington had hopes of competing for a World Series with Harper leading the way, but that has not worked out this season. At this point in the season, the Nationals have a 52-53 record and are in third place in the National League East division. Harper wants to compete and Washington is not heading in the right direction.
There are already some teams being connected to Harper. According to a report from the MLB website, the Cleveland Indians have checked in on Harper already.
No other reports have stated how far talks have gone between the two teams.
“Yes, Morosi indicates there’s no momentum toward a deal. That said, there’s still plenty of hours left until Tuesday afternoon’s deadline, and it’s possible that the Indians and Nats have discussed a general framework.”
Throughout the course of the 2018 MLB season thus far with the Nationals, Harper has a .220 batting average and has slugged 25 home runs and 62 RBI’s. His batting average is the lowest he has been throughout his entire career, but he has still had a major impact on the team despite that issue.
A team that acquires Harper will do everything in their power to sign him to a long-term extension. Unfortunately, there are likely very few teams that he would consider signing with. One team that many think he wants to play for would be the Chicago Cubs, who may try to swing a blockbuster deal ahead of the deadline.
All of that being said, the addition of Harper to the trade block will make the trade deadline extremely interesting. Washington may not end up trading him, but this is something to keep an eye on as the deadline comes and goes.