Should the Nationals Trade Bryce Harper?

July 18, 2018
  
Now that Bryce Harper has won the All-Star Game Home Run Derby while rocking the best sporting headband this side of Richie Tenenbaum, it’s time to ask the inevitable question: should the Nationals consider trading him? 
 
Let’s start with the standings. The Nationals, heavy favorites to win the NL Central at the start, of the season are currently at 48-48, trailing the upstart Phillies and Braves by five games. They are very much in contention in the division: Atlanta and Philadelphia are young teams ahead of their win curves, and Washington’s run differential…a handy metric to understand a team’s underlying level of talent…suggests that the Nationals are every bit as good as their rivals for the division. Washington is in in the race, but they’re trailing two teams.
 
Given that, the Nationals should be focused on winning: this division is still very much in their grasp, and it would be foolish to punt on the season at the mid-point.
 
And Bryce Harper certainly helps the Nationals win baseball games. Even in a down season, Bryce Harper is a very talented baseball player. He is hitting .214 this season, which is terrible. His defense has been poor: our site calculates his defense in the outfield at -13 runs saved. That said, Harper does two things that are very valuable: he gets on base a good amount, and he hits dingers. He is a useful player, even if he’s not quite a useful as he’s been in the past.
 
This is an aside: has any major league player in history had as mercurial a career as Bryce Harper?
 
Bryce Harper, as a nineteen-year old rookie, hit 22 homeruns and stole 16 bases. He was a legitimate major league hitter that year, posting a Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) of 121. Baseball-Reference calculated his WAR at 5.2, while FanGraphs credits him with a more conservative 4.4.  
 
A teenager posting a four-win season is exceptionally rare. How rare?
 
Rank
Year
Player
fWAR
1
2012
Bryce Harper
4.4
2
1928
Mel Ott
4.1
3
1989
Ken Griffey Jr.
2.5
4
1884
Joe Quinn
2.4
t-5
1936
Buddy Lewis
1.9
t-5
1879
John Ward
1.9
 
Very rare. Most nineteen-year-olds in the majors have accomplished something just being in the major leagues. Bryce Harper was one of the rare teenagers who played like a star.
 
I think the sabermetic community has received flack on how much attention we’ve given to Bryce Harper, a player who has enjoyed exactly one MVP-level season in seven years. I think the table above helps explain it. Bryce Harper was as hyped as any hitting prospect ever, and when he arrived in the majors, he was better than anyone had ever been as a teenager. We had high expectations, and he exceeded those expectations comfortably.
 
And then…he’s been all over the map. He won a unanimous MVP as a twenty-two-year-old, pacing the league in runs scored, homers, slugging, and on-base percentage. He followed that with a .243 batting average in 2016. He had a season when he attempted 31 stolen bases, and then followed it with a season with six attempts. He’s had seasons when he’s rated as a positive defensive outfielder, and he’s had seasons (like this one) when he rates like someone who should be playing first base.
 
At his best, Harper is an elite player. But he is so frequently something other than his best that his future is more difficult to project than just about any good player in the game. Which is not any kind of reason to trade him. Even a not-at-his-best Harper is a valuable hitter to have in the middle of the lineup.
 
So why am I writing this article?
 
Because there are some justifications for why the Nationals should at least consider moving Harper. Let’s count them down.
 
1.       They have an interested buyer.
 
The wide belief is that the Yankees will wind up signing Bryce Harper in the offseason. The Yankees have always made sense as the landing spot for Harper: he is the most famous player in the game today, and he has cultivated that fame: he seems particularly drawn to the bright lights. The Yankees have baseball’s biggest stage, and they have the money to pay him what he wants. And with the team bubbling with young talent, they have a clear incentive to do so.
 
The Yankees will be targeting Harper in the offseason, but they need help now. They’re playing great baseball, but they’re trailing their division by 4.5 games, against a team that is playing exceptionally well. The Yankees production at first base and left field hasn’t been great, and Harper could comfortably slot in as a top-of-the-order bat who splits playing time in those slots.
 
The Yankees aren’t going to be happy playing a one-and-done game as the Wild Card: they want to win the AL East, and Harper is a player could help them chase down the Red Sox. And whatever package the Yankees have to offer will be balanced out by not having to give up a compensation pick to the Nationals if they sign Harper to a long-term deal in the offseason.
 
2.       The Nationals have plenty outfielders.
 
Absent Harper, the Nationals can pencil in an outfield of Juan Soto, Michael Taylor, and Adam Eaton. That isn’t a bad outfield: whatever loss they get on the offensive side of things is covered at least slightly by having Taylor and Eaton playing defensive positions where they are comfortable. They will lose something in the outfield, but considering how terrible Harper’s been defensively this year, they won’t be losing as much as you’d think.
 
3.       Trading Harper gets them players who can help the Nationals now.
 
The Nationals, going into 2019, are still a very good team. They have Scherzer and Strasburg and Turner and Eaton and Soto. They have the brilliant Victor Robles waiting in the wings. If their path to contention looks to be tougher in 2019, they’re certainly not out of contention. Absent Harper and Anthony Rendon, Washington could still wind up the team to beat in the NL East next year.
 
If the Nationals trade Harper now, they will get prospects or players who have the chance to help their team in that immediate future. If they wait to collect a compensation pick, they will be getting a player who cannot be expected to help the team for at least three years. Considering the talent that the Nationals will have going into 2019, it makes more sense to cash in two-and-a-half months of Harper for years of major-league-ready player seasons.
 
4.       Those Pesky Intangibles.
 
This is the most out-on-a-tree-branch part of the article, and I’ll forgive you if you want to skip this.
 
It is my belief that the Nationals, as a team, have underperformed to their talents. This is a team that has spent the better part of the last five years competing in a wasteland of a division. The Phillies have been in an extensive rebuild, paying the price for trying to stretch a championship team past their breaking point. And while the Braves snuck a division title in 2013, they’ve had consecutive seasons of 79, 67, 66, and 72 wins coming into this year. Miami could have been contenders, but Jose Fernandez died before the team could get on its feet, and the ownership group traded off the core of Stanton, Gordon, Yelich, and Ozuna. Only the Mets have been decent challengers recently, but they’re hollow rivals: you’d have to work hard to convince me that the 2015 NL champion Mets were really a better team than the 2015 Nationals.
 
The Nationals have won four division titles, which no one is going to fault. But they’ve won at least three of those division titles with no serious competition, and they’ve been washed out of every playoff series they’ve reached in the first round. They have been a favorite to be the NL representatives in the World Series for five years, and they haven’t come close to getting there.
 
We can’t blame that on Bryce Harper: he is one player on the team, and it is ridiculous to hold him accountable for the failures of this franchise to do more with what they have.
 
That said, the Nationals are his team as much as they are anyone player’s team, and the track record of that team isn’t great. Do you really expect the Nationals to chase down the Phillies and Braves this year? Do you think they’re the kind of team that is going to roar back and take control of this division, or are they going to lay down and wait it out until next year?
 
My sense, having followed them for years, is that this is a team that cannot fight. My sense is that the Nationals are a team that has no core identity that they can rally around, no purpose or cause that unites their individual parts. They are a very good baseball team, but they are utterly complacent. They win when it is easy, and when the winning gets hard they fold like a house of cards.
 
Think about it: the Nats have been one of the dynastic teams of the last half-decade: isn’t it tellingthat the most memorable moment of their run wasn’t some grand homerun or a scrum celebration on the mound, but a dugout fight in which Jonathan Papelbon tried to strangle Bryce Harper for not running out a groundball? That is the standout memory I have of this team, and I’d bet that is the memory that most of you have. Doesn’t that tell us something about the soul of this team?
 
Bryce Harper, fair or not, is the center of this team, and I think that the very best thing for the Nationals to do is to cut out the center and see what fills the void. The Nationals should let Harper go smash dingers with Stanton and Sanchez and Judge: he is already halfway out the door already, and there is no point in running out a team whose central player is counting down his days.
 
When it comes to sports, I am not a fan of waiting for things to happen. I think passivity is a marker of uncertainty, a marker of a lack of leadership. Good teams anticipate changes and make accommodations for those changes before they happen. The Nationals know that Bryce Harper isn’t going to be on their team in three months: it makes little sense to let him watch the clock wind down.
 
Cut out the center and see who fills the void.
 
*             *             *
 
What we still don’t understand about sports…what sabermetrics hasn’t made significant inroads in…is the question of what makes a team work. That is a different question, I think, then what makes a team good.
 
You can see this easiest in basketball, because the teams are smaller, and because all the plays on the court happen collaboratively. The Boston Celtics lost their two best players during the year, but the remaining guys on the squad played well as a team, and they managed to push Lebron James and the Cavs to the limit. The Celtics weren’t, objectively, a good team…but they were a team that worked: for some reason, the individuals were able to play effectively as a collective.
 
This is harder to see in baseball, because the scale of a season and a team is larger, and the dynamics of play are individualized: you’re all alone in the batter’s box, after all. I wouldn’t make a generalization about a team’s capacity to ‘work’ effectively after a few months, and I’d be reluctant to make any generalizations about a season of play.
 
With the Nationals, however, I think there is a long enough record of rostered players and full-season outcomes to conclude that they haven’t ever been a team that has really worked. They’ve been a great team, of course, but they haven’t ever shown a capacity to function successfully under pressure. Over the course of a long season, against soft competition, they win the games they’re supposed to win. But when competition comes they can’t find the will to win. They have always caved, and I think it is reasonable to anticipate that the 2018 version of the Nationals will do exactly what they’ve always done: falter when the road gets too steep.
 
Trading Bryce Harper would be a drastic step, and I am 99% sure that the Nationals won’t do it. But I am at least 98% sure that they’d be a better team without Harper than with him. I think that if the Nationals trade Harper, the team will get their act together enough to make a second-half run at the Phillies and Braves. If they keep him, they’re resigning themselves to counting down the hours, and they’re going to lose pace with the division.
 
 
David Fleming is a writer living in western Virginia. He welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions here and at dfleming1986@yahoo.com.
 
 

COMMENTS (26 Comments, most recent shown first)

OldBackstop
Great article, Dave, as always.

I'm arriving two days after the deadline with the brilliant prediction that Harper will not be traded.

The reason, to me, is the same reason the Mets did not trade DeGrom. These are teams looking to win...the Nats now, the Mets in 2019. Midseason rentals don't yield win now players.
8:32 AM Aug 2nd
 
steve161
I agree in principle, Maris, but it only takes one.
4:54 AM Jul 27th
 
MarisFan61
Great breakdown by pbspelly.

Assuming that Harper himself or at least the team's staff realizes all that, and I don't see why they wouldn't, we might think it could be remediable, at least largely, notwithstanding that it might be his basic nature to do such things.

Maybe it's based on the assumption of this that it's widely assumed (as I think it is) that he'll get a huge, huge contract from somebody after the season. This presumption has surprised me. Unless he does much better in at least most of those respects for the rest of the year, I wouldn't have thought he'd get offers of more than maybe $20 million a year for several years. (Which of course it's hard to live on.) :-)

The thing is, I keep hearing numbers like $250 million and $300 million, which I don't see. Those are Mike Trout numbers (OK, maybe a tiny bit on the low side) :-) not .220 hitting/stupid swinging/mediocre fielding/head-case numbers.
12:22 AM Jul 26th
 
Marc Schneider
pbspelly

I don't think Harper is a TERRIBLE outfielder although he is certainly not great. But he tends to want to show off his arm and make throws he shouldn't. On the other hand, yesterday he threw a guy out at second on a hit off the CF wall.
2:02 PM Jul 23rd
 
pbspelly
Harper's problem is that he overreacts to everything. Earlier in his career, he got injured running into walls in the outfield. So now he always pulls up, rarely dives or goes all out, and is, for the most part, a terrible outfielder. He gets frustrated at getting so few good pitches to hit, so--while he does walk a lot--he also gets frustrated and has at-bats where he swings at the first two or three pitches no matter where they are. He lines out a few times hitting into the shift, so he overreacts by trying to hit everything for a home run. That's actually what he said the other day when asked how to beat the shift: "If you hit it over all of ’em, that’s how you beat it." This is why he's hitting .215. He used to hit to the opposite field some times, but now he's just trying to pull it over everybody. Basically he's morphing into Adam Dunn, without the genial good nature.
8:26 AM Jul 23rd
 
steve161
I've been waiting for years for Dave Martinez to get a chance to manage, but I regret that it came at the expense of Dusty Baker. Add me to the chorus that considers letting him go to have been a mistake.

If Bryce Harper wants to be the face of a franchise, he'll stay in Washington, which right now is the only city that sees his positives (much as San Francisco was for Barry Bonds). He certainly won't sign with New York: the face of that franchise will be Aaron Judge for years to come, and I strongly doubt that anything Bryce Harper might do in a Yankee uniform would change that, any more than Alex Rodriguez's 2009 displaced Derek Jeter.
4:56 AM Jul 20th
 
garywmaloney
A welcome article, Dave. I may be the only Nats season-ticket holder who (occasionally) contributes here – the team seems to get little attention in these pages.
Judging by this season and the ASG just past, the Scherzer jerseys seem to be matching Harper’s on the backs of Nats fans these days . . . Bryce’s bloom has definitely wilted here; the mercurial thing, the .214 BA, the terrible fielding and lousy RISP hitting, on and on.
Still, the impact of a Bryce dump on FANS seems to be a major point of discussion here in DC. It’s a financial & image gamble.
And yet – the Mariners lost Randy, then Junior, THEN A-Rod . . . . and screamed to 116 wins in 2001. They had a driving manager in Lou, and Martinez is definitely not that. But – food for thought.
I have concluded that what you suggest is the smart move – and Bryce wants to be a Yankee, always has. Am not convinced he is the best fit for the Yankees – there is always talent available for 1b, and cheaper than Harper for sure. The Yanks seem to have far more young, cheap, homegrown talent on the field than at any time in recent memory; taking on an expensive Harper contract seems a step backwards, especially after the decidedly mixed returns on the Stanton signing (so far).
Harper probably needs the change in order to take a / the next step – Jim Bunning’s observation that a player should welcome a trade at least once in his career seems right here. He will not go much further with the Nats, and the fresh water of / kick in the ass from a new team (and clubhouse culture) seems the ticket.
Dave, you are dead on about the Nats’ real needs at 2b, 1b and catcher. If the Yanks cannot supply any of these, another team probably can. Rizzo, take note.
(And Bill – we MISS YOU. BJ Online is not the same without, ya know, BJ.)

12:59 AM Jul 20th
 
evanecurb
I think the most likely case scenario is that in the remaining 66 games, Harper will hit around his career averages - .277/.384/.510. That should be worth two or three extra wins above what Michael Taylor would do, I would think. So the Nats should keep him, hope they win the division, make him a qualifying offer, and expect him to leave. They'll have Soto and Robles (and Eaton if he's ever healthy) in the outfield. Their big holes will be at second, first, and catcher.
10:02 AM Jul 19th
 
evanecurb
Dave:

I agree with you 100% about the Nats and Dusty Baker. He was the perfect manager for that team. Rizzo is one of the best GMs in baseball (look at their roster and their prospects), but he sure messed up by not keeping Dusty. I don't know how much of this year's problems fall at the feet of the current manager, but Dusty had been very successful there. There was absolutely no reason on earth to let him go.
9:50 AM Jul 19th
 
evanecurb
DanaKing: Good luck with Charlize. Are you guys going out, or is she going to cook for you?
9:46 AM Jul 19th
 
Marc Schneider
I don't really understand the argument that the Nats were arrogant by not pitching Strasburg in the 2012 playoffs. First, if they had pitched him and he ended up hurting his arm or becoming ineffective (a la Matt Harvey), everyone would be coming down on the Nats. Second, the Nats HAVE been in the playoffs most of the time since then, so clearly they have other chances. If they had won one of those other times, everyone would be praising them for sacrificing one potential championship for the player's health.

As for Davey Martinez, I agree that has not added any value to the team and has probably subtracted some. He has, IMO, handled the pitching staff abysmally. And I agree that the constant positivity is annoying. On the other hand, he can't be held responsible for the injuries to Murphy, Strasburg, Zimmerman, etc., and the lousy pitching of Gonzalez and Roark recently.

I also agree that the Nats have been significantly helped by playing in a weak division. But that was largely true of the Braves too and, while they suffered a lot of playoff losses, they also got into several World Series and won one. People can argue about whether it's better for a team to coast or to fight to get into the playoffs, but, without having any data on hand, I suspect there is no particular correlation. I've seen it happen both ways.

But I do think the Nats often play like a team that thinks they are supposed to win and inevitably win. This year, especially, they have made an enormous amount of mistakes in the field and on the bases. Some of these are from overaggressiveness, but in some cases, they just seem to be lost. And they have had so many poor at bats with runners on base. There doesn't seem to be a lot of passion on this team, EXCEPT for Harper, who, as annoying as he can be, usually busts his ass running the bases.

But part of the problem is the Nats' talent is not as good as everyone seems to think or at least is often injured. The obvious example is Zimmerman, who is supposedly the face of the franchise, but has really only had one good year in the last several and is hurt most of the time. Strasburg, while he is obviously an excellent pitcher, has an annual trip to the DL. Rendon is a very good player, but people keep expecting an MVP-type season from him and I haven't seen that yet.

The fact is, IMO, though, is that the main reason the Nats are struggling is Harper. He is supposed to be the star and the best player on the team. I acknowledge that even this year he is a worthwhile player to have, but he is not playing like a star. I can't see paying the kind of money people talk about for a player who is, basically, a good but not great player. If Harper was hitting, the Nats would likely be in first place.
9:29 AM Jul 19th
 
DaveFleming
Harper to the Yanks seems like a foregone conclusion: Harper very much wants to be the face of the game...he is motivated by this in a way that Trout isn't, and I think that playing in New York is the logical means to that end. I wouldn't be surprised if he took less money to play in NY, knowing that he can recoup the difference in marketing deals.

I could be reading it wrong, but my sense is that the Yankees would be happy to play him at first base, with occasional spells in the OF. They have Judge and Stanton, but Stanton is mostly a DH these days. Gardner has a one-year club option for 2019 (which the Yankees should happily agree to), but after that it's not impossible to imagine Harper transition back to a corner OF spot in the coming years.

The Yankees have two big-bucks contracts that they're on the hook for: Stanton's deal and Tanaka's contract. Robertson is off the books this year, and Ellsbury comes off the books after 2020 (assuming they don't want his option year). Then the next biggest contract is Chapman at $15/per. A ton of their guys are in pre-arbitration/arb years: Judge, Sanchez, Didi, Gleyber, Severino, Betances...most of their core is cost-controlled. The Yankees have plenty of cash, and an incentive to try and win now.

To DanaKing's point about Strasburg's innings limit...I remember that decision vividly, and I think that was a big part of what turned me off about the Nationals organization. The decision demonstrated both egotism ('We'll be in the playoffs every year') and a staggering rigidity of thought. They could have easily staggered Strasburg's starts to insure he'd be able to pitch in the postseason, but the GM decided it was important to hold their ground on the original plan, and it ended up costing them. And it was senselessly played out in the media, instead of being discussed in-house.

I meant to mention this in the article, but Dusty Baker was the best thing that happened for the franchise, and it was a titanic mistake to fire him. I don't have any great appreciation for Baker's in-game strategies, but he has always been terrific at getting his players to play well for him, and he's particularly good at dealing with 'big' personalities (Bonds, Harper). He is a good player's manager, even if he leaves a lot of us analysts scratching our heads.
8:43 AM Jul 19th
 
DanaKing
Living in the DC area but not a Nats fan, I trace the Nats' maliase to the year Stephen Strasberg came back from his Tommy John surgery and GM Mike Rizzo held adamantly to an inning count even though the team was a true contender. I'm not debating whether Rizzo was right or wrong to do so; it's his attitude. He said it was no big deal to risk the playoffs because they'd be back next year. (and by implication the year after and the year after...)

Not saying he wasn't right to shelter a young pitcher's arm, but the hubris shown by assuming they were just going to make the plaoyffs every year seems to have filtered doen to the whole team. They seem not to feel they need to suck it up because they're The Nats and are somehow entitled. It doesn't work that way and I don't think they're going to win until that attitude changes, which is going to be touhg considering the people in charge. (Rizzo and the ownership.)

No disrespect intended, but as a PIrates follower, suggesting Harper could go to Pittsburgh is ludicrous. Pirates' ownership is content to milk profits out of that team. Thinking they might spend that kind of money is like experting Charlize Theron to come to your house to invite you to dinner, after which we'll see what happens.


8:10 AM Jul 19th
 
steve161
True, the Nats have been disappointing in the postseason, but as Bruce points out, they've been competitive and come close. They're not the only team that has been a powerhouse in the regular season, only to fall short in October. The Braves did it for fourteen years. I don't recall anybody calling their character into question.

Dave, you point out that the Nats have pretty much had a free ride to the postseason in the East, with only occasional resistance from the other clubs. I wonder if that isn't at least a partial explanation for their falling short. Maybe not having to exert themselves to the fullest has made it more difficult to do so when it really matters.
7:37 AM Jul 19th
 
MarisFan61
I did a very small, very unscientific study which took half a minute -- and, for what it may be worth, it's consistent with what Dave said about Harper being the most famous player in the game today.

If you google:
"bryce harper" "baseball" -- you get 5-point-something million matches
"mike trout" "baseball" -- 4.19 million
"aaron judge" "baseball" -- 3.18 million

......but wait a minute, wait a minute.....

When I did Harper a second time, to get the 'decimal' (didn't make a point of registering it before, since I was just sort of "rough-drafting" the idea of doing this.....
It gave just 2.48 million matches.

I guess google's fielding metric fluctuates from one minute to the next....

But, goodness gracious, when I re-did Trout, it gave only 2.28 million.
Let's see a re-done Judge: 1.53 million.

If I keep re-checking, maybe these guys will disappear from the internet completely....​
1:14 AM Jul 19th
 
Chihuahua332
Thou art pardoned
10:36 PM Jul 18th
 
MarisFan61
(pardon the typo)
9:24 PM Jul 18th
 
MarisFan61
Harper is "he most famous player in the game today"?

News to me.
I wouldn't have felt sure he was even #2.

I'm also surprised to see that it's been widely believed that the Yanks will sign him. I heard and read lots and lots about what's about in Yank-land, and from what I've been gathered, it's merely in the air as a possibility but (at least in Yankee land) well short of assumption.

BTW, would I like the Yanks to sign him?
I WOULD HATE IT, basically because of what this article indicates about his career to date.

I wouldn't mind that much if they signed him for $30 million for 5 years.
(Not meaning per year, but total). :-)​
9:24 PM Jul 18th
 
evanecurb
Hi Dave,

Good article, as always. I think this is a question that people most definitely should be asking. There are a couple of statements that I take issue with.

1. The Yankees want to sign Harper? I doubt it. They need a first baseman, not an outfielder. They wanted to sign Harper before they acquired Stanton. Now, not so much.

2. If you watch the Nationals, it is readily apparent that Scherzer is the central figure on the team, not Harper. Scherzer is the most animated of the Nats, and he's their best player. I know he's a pitcher, but he's a presence on the bench every day.

3. And the Nats have plenty of fight in them. They've gotten off to poor starts before, and have bounced back. Their playoff losses are due as much to random chance (and lousy bullpens) as to anything else. They could easily have beaten the Cards in '12, the Giants in '14, the Dodgers in '16, and the Cubs last year. These were all good teams, and each series was close. They just didn't win.

Signed,

Not a Nats Fanb so Yes you should take me seriously
8:49 PM Jul 18th
 
StatsGuru
Outside of Davey Johnson, they seem to do a poor job of hiring managers. I actually think they could use a really tough manager, rather than a positive guy like Dave Martinez. The team needs a kick in the rear.
7:58 PM Jul 18th
 
mradican
I think the Nationals would be a better team even if they just cut him. A much better team.
7:26 PM Jul 18th
 
Chihuahua332
As someone who lives less than a thirty minute from Nationals Park, I’m not going to disagree that this could be the right move but as you note, there is a big question of who could step in as the identity of the team.
Scherzer is capable and I believe willing to be the soul of a Harper-less team but it is hard for a pitcher to take on that mantle only playing every fifth day. I don’t see any current position players who would have the desire or capability to step up as the public image of the team. Rendon and Turner have great charisma but I think they are strongest as contributors to the internal clubhouse makeup, not as an outward public voice. Eaton is essentially new to the team due to injuries, Murphy isn’t that guy, and I think that Taylor would be happiest playing the game without anyone watching.
The potential answer is Soto. Despite his age, he clearly has star level talent and exudes a powerful joy of the game. Pairing up his youthful exuberance with Scherzer’s intensity could be a powerful combination both within the team and to energize the fan base.

5:19 PM Jul 18th
 
trn6229
I watch MLB Now. I think that there has been discussion that he may sign a one year deal with the Nationals for $35 million or something. I am a Red Sox fan. Why would the Yankees want Harper when they already have Trout and Stanton? I thought teams are wary now that they don't want to exceed the tax threshold. These are not George Steinbrenner's Yankees anymore. Why can't some middle of the road club like the Padres or Pirates or Twins sign him? Put some fannies in the seats and make a run for postseason baseball?

Take Care,
Tom Nahigian
5:05 PM Jul 18th
 
DaveNJnews
NL East, not NL Central.
4:20 PM Jul 18th
 
DaveFleming
Yup. I don't read ESPN regularly, but I jumped over there after I posted this, just to see if they had any updates on what players are involved in the Machado trade, and the headline was an article about trading Harper. Thankfully, the writers came to a different conclusion than I did.

I wish I could change my sub-header. It's a little hard to argue it's a question no one's asking when ESPN is leading with it on their baseball frontpage.

I remember, years ago now, posting an article and then seeing the same one posted somewhere else...SB Nation, maybe? The other author posted his article within ten minutes of mine, and we had a nice correspondence about it. Grant Bisbee, maybe? I like his stuff.

Anyway, it happens sometimes.
1:11 PM Jul 18th
 
doncoffin
There's a discussion of this on ESPN's site.
www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/24123226/mlb-how-crazy-for-nationals-consider-trading-bryce-harper

Two out of two ESPN writers think it would be a bad idea.
12:14 PM Jul 18th
 
 
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