Washington Nationals Won't Trade Bryce Harper

The Nationals will listen to offers for Harper, Bob Nightengale said, but they won't trade him

Ferrall On The Bench
October 30, 2018 - 9:45 am

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The Nationals are reportedly listening to offers for Bryce Harper ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, but USA Today MLB writer Bob Nightengale doesn’t think Washington will actually move its franchise cornerstone.

“I don’t,” Nightengale said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I believe they’ll listen. I don’t believe for a second they’ll trade him. It means you’re giving up any chance of re-signing him. You’re also letting everybody know this is a horrific season – one of the most embarrassing seasons in Nationals history.”

The Nationals, who went 97-65 last season, are 52-53 entering play July 31. They trail the Phillies by 5.5 games in the NL East, and there are reports of clubhouse chaos.

“I believe there’s a lot of people upset in there,” Nightengale said. “When you’re underperforming as badly as they are, it usually comes down to issues in the clubhouse. We didn’t hear about those issues when Dusty Baker was there and won two division titles. They wanted a new manager. Nothing against Dave Martinez, but when you fire a guy who wins back-to-back titles – including 97 games last year – be careful what you wish for.”

Nighengale also questions the market for Harper – at least for now. The Dodgers (59-48) are trying to get below the luxury tax, while the Indians (57-48) have an eight-game lead in the AL Central.

“Cleveland, I just don't know if they want to put that kind of money into it when you’re already guaranteed to win the division anyway,” Nightengale said. “It’s not like you need this guy to win the AL Central. You got it wrapped up.”

Nightengale also weighed in on the social-media controversy surrounding Josh Hader, Sean Newcomb, and Trea Turner, who all posted racist and/or homophobic tweets before making it to the big leagues.

“Baseball better be careful,” Nightengale said. “They already have a bad-image problem as it is. Now they’re trying to get young African American players to play the game and make it a diverse game. I don’t care if it was seven years ago or seven minutes ago; it’s still out there. Teams are going to start telling their social-media crew, ‘Hey, clean up people’s Twitter.’ It may or may not be on Twitter anymore, but it’s a huge black eye for baseball.”