Despite being not too far removed from a postseason spot with 57 games left to play, it appears the Washington Nationals have officially placed six-time All-Star and 2015 National League Most Valuable Player — outfielder Bryce Harper — on the trading block.
The Nationals are reportedly letting teams know that Harper is "indeed available," with approximately 17 hours remaining until Tuesday's 4 p.m. trade deadline, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The Cleveland Indians have recently contacted the Nationals regarding a "possible trade," per MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
Harper, 25, has posted a career-low .220 batting average this season, despite collecting 15 doubles, 25 home runs and 62 walks. The Las Vegas, Nevada, native leads the National League this season in walks (84), intentional walks (12) and sacrifice flys (7).
Like Manny Machado, Harper is set to rental free agency and would be acquired on a rental status. Harper is on a one-year, $21.63 million expiring contract, and is still owed approximately $7.3 million for the remainder of the season, per YES Network's Lou DiPietro.
Sources told me last week that among the teams that asked the #Nationals about Bryce Harper besides #Dodgers were #Indians, #Yankees and #As— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) July 31, 2018
I imagine the most recent news adds a few other teams like #Phillies #Astros maybe even #Rockies to that list.
#Nationals are at least willing to see if get blown away with Harper offer as @Feinsand 1st reported. Execs I talked to put trade at low possibility, but fact even a discussion 2 weeks after Harper won HR Derby in home park thrilling faithful speaks to current state of Nats— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 31, 2018
The Phillies have been long-speculated to be contenders to sign Harper upon free agency in the offseason. No one expected the Nationals, who have won three of the last four National League East titles, to be sellers by the July 2018 deadline, however. Whether the Nationals consider trading the seven-year veteran to their division-rival Phillies remains to be seen.