Bryce Harper is not going anywhere before the MLB trade deadline.
At least that is what the general manager of the Washington Nationals Mike Rizzo told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
This announcement happened six hours before the non-waiver trade deadline at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Last night and this morning there were multiple reports that the six-time All-Star was on the trading block for the Nationals. Turns out Rizzo has made his decision no matter what other offers come his way. In all likelihood, the Nationals did not receive fair value trades for the former MVP or the team is convinced he will be in their future plans.
Harper will stay with the team, despite his looming free agency this upcoming off-season. Expected to make between $400 and $500 million on his next contract, Harper will be one of the most sought-after free agent in MLB history. Not trading the 25-year-old also means there may be no return if Harper goes to another team.
It also means that the team is still convinced that they can make the postseason in 2018. If the Nationals were to miss the playoffs and Harper leave for nothing then this will turn gloomy for the Nationals.
The Nationals look to make that playoff push despite sitting at a 52-53 record with less than 60 days left to go in the season. To do so, they will definitely need the former NL MVP to improve on .220 batting average.
This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
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He has not played since Game 2 of the National League Division Series when he pulled up because of a hamstring strain after crossing first base. The strain was described at the time as “mild.” Robles has been working toward a return since then.
“We're going to run him a little bit [Sunday],” Davey Martinez said Sunday on a conference call. “He's got to get some treatment, and then we'll see [Monday]. He'll participate in BP and do a little bit more running, and we'll see where we're at [Monday].
“I'm not going to anticipate anything until he comes in [Monday], but he's progressing, and hopefully he'll be ready [Monday].”
Michael A. Taylor replaced Robles in center field. He hit an important solo home run Saturday and is hitting .300 in the postseason. He also made a significant judgment error in the outfield which allowed the Cardinals’ lone Game 2 -- and series -- run to score.
Martinez made it sound like Taylor’s time as the starting center fielder is over when Robles is ready to return.
“Victor has been in center field all year, and he's played really well for us,” Martinez said. “When he's healthy, he'll get a chance to play. But like I said before, we want him to be at 100 percent. So until then, we'll see what happens here in the next day or so.”
Few other changes are expected Monday. Stephen Strasburg will start. Kurt Suzuki -- despite his lack of postseason hitting and trouble throwing out runners -- should be behind the plate.
Reliever Roenis Elías, who has not thrown a pitch in the major leagues since Sept. 5, may be in the mix Monday because Patrick Corbin’s bullpen appearances are now on hold prior to his Game 4 start.
“Moving forward, Elias is going to have to get those big outs against the lefties here in the next couple days,” Martinez said.
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After the Washington Nationals won back-to-back NL East division titles from 2017-2018 but failed to make it past the NLDS in each of those seasons, they cut bait with manager Dusty Baker by electing not to re-sign him when his contract expired.
Baker now has a chance to return to a managerial role, as the Chicago Tribune is reporting that he’s earned an interview with the Philadelphia Phillies after they fired Gabe Kapler last week.
The Phillies of course employ the services of Bryce Harper, who played under Baker in Washington and has spoken highly of him in the past.
After the Nats let him go, Baker stepped away from baseball for a year before joining the San Francisco Giants as a special adviser to the CEO last season. The two-time All-Star outfielder has managed the Giants, Cubs, Reds and Nationals over parts of 22 seasons, amassing a career record of 1,863-1,636 (.532).
Of the 15 skippers with more wins in their managerial careers, 13 are in the Hall of Fame and one (Bruce Bochy) is a shoo-in to get there. The other is Gene Mauch, who joins Baker as the only two managers with at least 1,600 wins to never claim a World Series title.
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