Last week, Bryce Harper won the Home Run Derby in dramatic fashion in front of his home crowd. It was fun to watch, and it was even better to see D.C. sports fans treat it the same as the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup.
Despite this moment for Bryce and his bro’d out dad, the Home Run Derby acted as a distraction from something that is becoming more and more real everyday: Bryce Harper’s time in D.C. may be coming to an end.
As you read this, the Nationals sit at 49-49, six games out of first place in the NL East. There is still a chance they can make the playoffs, but the future outlook is what makes it seem like Bryce and The District will be parting ways at some point.
To me, and many other smart people, I think it’s becoming clear that the Nationals won’t be contending for much longer. The Phillies and Braves have arrived ahead of schedule, and will probably only get better in the coming years. At some point the Marlins have to regain some common sense, but don’t worry, the Mets will always be the Mets.
The Nats have pieces, including Juan Soto who is younger than me, and I’m never going to bet against a rotation that features Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg (unless they get injured from fighting each other). However, it seems like they’re trending in the wrong direction.
If the teams they had for the past four years couldn’t even get to the NLCS, it’s hard to see this roster doing it. Because of this, it doesn’t make sense for Bryce to stay in D.C., unless the money is all he cares about.
This begs the question, are the Nationals better off trading Harper before the trade deadline?
Now, we must address the fact that Bryce Harper is having a bad year. The power numbers are there, but not much else. He has the name recognition, but if you put his stats up against the rest of the All-Star starters, he’d stick out more than when I play basketball at the local gym.
Yet, I don’t think this changes the discussion. Maybe it’s harder to let Bryce go if he’s putting up MVP type numbers, but if we’re assuming that the Nats are in the same situation record-wise, then the reason you’re trading Harper is because your future outlook.
Personally, I think the Nationals should trade Bryce. As a Cubs fan, I guess I’d rather see him wait it out and see if Chicago can sign him come the winter, but I think the logical decision in D.C. is to try to move him.
Sure, the return may not be what it could’ve been months ago when , but it’s Bryce FREAKIN Harper. The Nats are going to get a good return. And, anything is better than the zero return they get if he goes to free agency this offseason.
The last thing to answer now is, who is the partner for this trade? Teams like the Yankees and Cubs, two teams who could be players come free agency, don’t need Harper right now. They both have crowded outfields, and should be giving up prospects for an arm, not a bat.
I think the best fit for Harper is the Phillies. They’re a young team that is now fighting for a playoff spot. The Phillies’ offense this season has fallen flat, even with additions like Carlos Santana, so adding Harper would only help. Also, the Phillies have a decent chance to persuade Bryce to stay in the offseason, as they are going to be a key player this winter.
Entering the season, we were all focused on waiting till the end of 2018 to see where Bryce Harper may end up. That could still be the case, but I would not be surprised if we see him on the move earlier. I think it’s the right move, and I want credit and an interview for a GM position if it happens.