Nationals keep Bryce Harper, but Juan Soto could make it easier to move on this winter
By Nick Ashooh
So Bryce Harper is still a National. I'm sure it won't be awkward in the Nationals' clubhouse at all now right?
Nothing more uncomfortable than to go back to a job knowing they tried to get rid of you.
Listen, I was on record weeks ago saying that Harper needed to be moved if they didn't see a future with him. Yeah, it's not my money, and sure, there's no salary cap in baseball, but is it really a smart business decision to spend $400 something million on a guy that's only had ONE season where he's played in at least 150 games? (wow that was long-winded)
Split that down the middle, and find yourself more starting pitching.
If the Nationals still want to try and keep him, fine, but they already HAVE to have an idea as to whether or not they're willing to hand over all that money.
Juan Soto makes it a lot easier for the Nationals to part with Harper too. I'm not saying the guy has the ceiling that Harper still has at 25, but Soto just became the first teenager since 1898 to hit a home run in three straight games. He's hitting .310, with 13 home runs and 36 RBI in just 60 games, and he's just 19 years old.
Right now, Harper sells more tickets, and is the face of the franchise. But is his face worth the $400 or so price tag that's likely coming?
Plenty of fans seems to have already moved on from Harper anyway. The anti-Bryce camp has grown louder and louder, and too many people over-estimate what type of pull Harper has with fans now. Which is amazing really, since he's been nothing but a model citizen since he got here.
This team has more issues than Harper's batting average anyway. Their $175 million pitcher can't stay off the DL, and Stephen Strasburg isn't the only name we see in and out of the lineup.
They have a rookie manager that seems to have lost the confidence from fans, which really doesn't matter as long as the players still wan to play for him, but it's not a good look when you struggle to keep you head above .500.
This offseason is going to be a major test for Mike Rizzo. His biggest decisions yet are still to come.
If that Nats miss the playoffs on top of that, it'll only put more pressure on the front office this winter.
There's 60 games left. Time for Harper to show he was worth keeping for them.