Late Monday night reports began circulating that the Nationals were listening to offers for outfielder Bryce Harper.
Up until that point the idea of the Nationals trading Harper was taboo for many. There were scenarios where trading Harper made sense but they all required the Nationals to continue to struggle and/or a belief that they were unable to retain the Home Run Derby winner this winter.
Then Tuesday morning came around, the day of the non waiver wire trade deadline, and it was like Monday night never happened.
At least one team in touch with the Nationals heard the club had deals “lined up” for multiple players, including Bryce Harper, but got the sense ownership pulled the plug late last night.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) July 31, 2018
Just as fast as it had come, the ideas was gone. The Nationals remain third in the NL East 5.5 games behind the Phillies, 5 games behind the Braves and 5.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot.
Losers of their last two to the Marlins, the Nationals open up a home series against the Mets tonight.
Even with the struggles you can understand the Nationals pause to trade Harper even in a walk year. The team will still boast the likes of Max Scherzer (thru 2021), Stephen Strasburg (2023), Anthony Rendon (2019), Trea Turner (2022) leaving the window of contention firmly open.
Trading Harper mid season all but eliminates any chance of him returning to the tam for the 2019 season and beyond. That is a window that the Nationals, which has used Harper as a pillar of their marketing, are not ready to close.