Nationals GM says Harper won't be traded: 'I believe in this team'
After reports surfaced Monday that the Nationals were fielding offers on the superstar outfielder ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, general manager Mike Rizzo told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that Harper won't be dealt.
"Bryce is not going anywhere," Rizzo said. "I believe in this team."
"I love Harp," he told Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports.
The Nationals were the heavy favorite to win a third straight NL East title, but things haven't gone according to plan. They enter play Tuesday sitting in third place with a 52-53 record, 5 1/2 games behind Philadelphia and 4 1/2 back of second-place Atlanta.
Questions about the clubhouse culture, and specifically concerns about first-year manager Dave Martinez, were raised over the weekend after they slumped below .500.
Harper hasn't exactly done his part to help Washington turn things around. Although the 25-year-old has hit 25 homers and drawn an NL-best 84 walks, he's in the midst of a down season overall, slashing just .220/.369/.473 with 117 strikeouts.
The Cleveland Indians reportedly discussed Harper with Washington, but it appears the talks didn't go anywhere. Cleveland was apparently unwilling to include top pitching prospect Shane Bieber in any deal, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
The Nationals will now be able to extend a qualifying offer to Harper once he reaches free agency this winter that would entitle them to draft-pick compensation should he sign elsewhere.