Nationals

Quick Links

Harper credits Desmond and Werth after winning MVP

ap_625685435698.jpg

Harper credits Desmond and Werth after winning MVP

Though Bryce Harper recently turned 23 years old, he is just months away from beginning his fifth season in the major leagues. That may be hard to believe for many of us, as it was not long ago that the now-MVP was taken first overall by the Nationals in the 2010 MLB Draft. Through four years, Harper has blossomed into one of the game's best players, a young superstar who could someday end up as one of baseball's immortal legends.

Part of Harper's development has included mentorship from older players. It was not until this season did he finally play with a teammate younger than him. Throughout his career he has had the benefit of learning from proven veteran ballplayers, some who have had won World Series rings and many who have enjoyed success throughout long MLB careers.

After winning his MVP award on Thursday night, Harper singled out two veterans in particular as players who helped show him the way as a young player.

"I can't thank Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth enough for what they did for me this year and in years past," Harper said.

Both Desmond and Werth have been with the Nationals since Harper made his debut in 2012. Desmond has played for the Nats for his entire seven-year career, but this offseason is expected to sign with another club as a free agent.

"I respect Desi more than anybody. This guy is somebody that I truly look up to as a person. I can't thank him enough for everything he did for me this year," Harper explained.

"I know this guy is not in our clubhouse at this moment, but the way he takes the game so serious. Doing everything I can on a daily basis to have fun and just enjoy it when I play. He's just a great teammate. He's such a great person on and off the field. He's got a great family. I just enjoy being around him. I enjoy playing side-by-side with him every single night. At the end of the day, if you're 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, you've got to have that same mentality every single day."

Werth joined the Nationals before the 2011 season and has played alongside Harper in the outfield. He has been through just about everything in the game of baseball.

"Jayson Werth, he's like a brother to me. He's definitely family," Harper said. "I can't thank him enough for taking me under his wing at age 19 and doing everything he could. He's somebody that I really love playing with. I'm definitely excited to be playing with him next year and play with him for the next couple years. He's taught me so much: how to approach the game, how to win ballgames, how to play in the postseason, how to do it the right way every single day. The guy has been around the game for a long, long time.

"I can't thank him enough for everything he does. If that's taking me out to dinner, if that's hanging out with me in the clubhouse or showing me what a pitcher is doing and their tendencies, it's all around the game. Inside and out. It's been a lot of fun."

Harper thanked many people on Thursday night, but it's clear he has a special admiration for Desmond and Werth, who each played a role in helping him become the player and man he is today.

Quick Links

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Quick Links

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

usatsi_9977852.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm