As confirmed earlier on Friday, the Washington Nationals have “moved on” from Bryce Harper. Speaking to NBC Sports Washington, principal owner Mark Lerner stressed that the team’s roster has just been “filled out,” and that the Nationals are ready to head into the 2019 MLB season without the man who had played in six All-Star Games in seven seasons in Washington. But with Harper still unsigned as of this writing, Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell opined that the star outfielder might have been better off asking the Nationals to increase their initial offer, rather than settling for a very similar contract with another team.
In an op-ed published on Friday afternoon, Boswell theorized that if Harper knew in advance what was going to happen in free agency, he probably would have “signed on to become a career Nat” and accepted a slightly better deal than the 10-year, $300 million contract Washington originally offered to him. This, he added, would have allowed Harper to be well-paid and content playing in front of a fanbase that loves him unconditionally, despite the weaknesses in his game. However, with the Nationals seemingly ready to push forward without Harper, Boswell posited that the young superstar’s decision to enter free agency now seems like a mistake.
“Harper now appears on the verge of signing the least-satisfying $300-million deal in the history of money,” Boswell wrote. “He has himself, and agent Scott Boras, to thank.”
At the moment, the majority of rumors still point to Bryce Harper joining the Philadelphia Phillies. Some of these reports, as noted by the Inquisitr on Thursday, have also suggested that he might not be too willing to play for the team for one reason or another, hence the fact he remains unsigned. According to Boswell, there’s a possibility the Phillies will pay Harper “a few percent more” than what the Nationals were offering. But on the other hand, he lamented how Boras seems to have led Harper “into a box canyon [with] no way out” as his free agency saga continues to play out.
“Harper and Boras followed a playbook that has worked for 40 years. No one told them there was a new final chapter, with a heck of a surprise twist.”
Exclusive: Nationals managing principal owner Mark Lerner to NBC Sports Washington on Bryce Harper: “We’ve moved on.”
— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) February 22, 2019
That surprise twist, per Boswell, was how the Nationals apparently wouldn’t be “circling back” to Harper after all, despite expectations that they would make another attempt to win him back. Aside from quoting Lerner’s previous comments about “moving on,” Boswell further pointed out that the Nationals principal owner also said that he has “no clue” about what Harper and Boras have been up to, as it’s been “a couple months” since he heard anything substantial from them.
In conclusion, Boswell predicted that there’s a good chance Harper would win his share of World Series and MVP awards if he signs with Philadelphia. However, he also hinted at the possibility that the Phillies would be the only team to make a truly serious bid for Harper, and still offer him “no more money than [what he would already have] in hand” had he accepted the Nationals’ contract offer and not chosen to become a free agent.