The Bryce Harper era in Washington might have just reached its conclusion.
In an interview with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier of 106.7 The Fan on Friday, Nationals managing principal owner Mark Lerner said the team won't budge from its reported 10-year, $300-million offer to the slugger made at the end of the 2018 season, an offer Harper rejected.
Consequently, Lerner said: "I really don't expect him to come back at this point. I think they've decided to move on. There's just too much money out there that he'd be leaving on the table. That's just not Mr. Boras' (agent Scott Boras') MO to leave money on the table."
Lerner didn't sound optimistic when asked if there's room to negotiate with Harper's camp should they circle back around to the Nationals.
"Well, when we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, 'This is the best we can do.' We went right to the finish line very quickly,'" he said.
"And we said, 'If this is of interest to you, please come back to us and we'll see whether we can finish it up.' But we just couldn't afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that."
The Nationals drafted Harper with the first overall pick in 2010 and he debuted two years later. Over his seven years in Washington, the 26-year-old blossomed into a superstar and helped the team to four division titles, though the Nationals didn't win a playoff series during that stretch. The club couldn't win a third straight NL East crown in 2018, slumping to an 82-80 finish amid a slight downturn in production from its star.
If this is it for Harper in a Nationals uniform, he'll leave as one of the best players in the District of Columbia's storied baseball history, and he's been by far the best player during the contemporary Nationals era that began with the team's move from Montreal in 2005.
"He'll still be iconic in the city, when he comes in playing for another team," Lerner said. "We'll do right by him and have a real ceremony. You can't be mad at him, and I don't think he'd be mad at us if we can't go any further."
Harper's next destination remains unclear, but four teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, reportedly met with him in his hometown of Las Vegas earlier this week.
The Nationals have spent some money this offseason, signing free-agent left-hander Patrick Corbin to a six-year, $140-million contract that was officially announced on Friday.