Nats’ Owner on Harper: “I Really Don’t Expect Him Back”

Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner appeared on the Grant & Danny Show on 106.7 FM in Washington, DC and acknowledged that the Nats “don’t really expect” six-time All-Star Bryce Harper to re-sign with Washington this offseason.

The Nationals made a ten-year, $300 million offer to the 26-year-old Las Vegas native on the final day of the 2018 season, which Harper rejected. On Friday, Lerner gave some insight as to where his organization stands in the process.

“When we met with them […], we told them, ‘This is the best we can do’,” Lerner said. “If he chooses to go someplace else, I totally understand it, but we put one heck of an offer out there.”

When asked if Harper and his representation, mega-agent Scott Boras, were to come back to the negotiating table to revisit the team’s initial offer, Lerner was quite forward.

“If he comes back [to discuss], it’s a strong possibility that we won’t be able to make it work. But I really don’t expect him to come back at this point,” he said. “I think they’ve decided to move on. There’s just too much money out there […]. That’s not Mr. Boras’ [modus operandi], to leave money on the table.”

Bryce Harper is unquestionably one of the most talented players in the game today. Through seven MLB seasons, the left-handed hitting outfielder owns a .279/.388/.512 slash line with 162-game averages of 32 home runs, 91 runs batted in, and a 139 OPS+ rating.

He suffered a noticeable downtick in batting average in 2018 (.249) and struck out more times than he ever had in a season (169, previous high was 131 in his NL MVP winning season in 2015), but also managed to hit 34 homers with 100 RBI, and drew a career-high and MLB-leading 130 walks with a .889 on-base plus slugging percentage.

With the Winter Meetings set to begin on Monday in Las Vegas, the race for Bryce Harper appears to ready to kick off, as well.

 

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A native of the South Shore of Long Island. Follow me on Twitter @TimothyRRyder