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Everything said about Bryce Harper ahead of Spring Training

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Everything said about Bryce Harper ahead of Spring Training

Here’s what we know: pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, and Bryce Harper still has not signed anywhere.

The playing field seems to change every day and no route seems more correct than another. Let’s breakdown this week’s anticipation for Harper to sign sooner than later.

Earlier in the week, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Giants were going to offer Harper a "a lucrative short-term deal." 

The next day, Cal Ripken talked to the Junkies about how many more teams could be considered if they are willing to offer similarly short-term, high annual salary deals to bring Harper in. 

After this idea simmered around rumor mills for a day, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman ruled out that possibility for Harper, claiming he is not "even considering" short-term deals.

 

 

David Murphy, a sports columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer, gave some perspective compared to previously large free agent signings that cut it close to spring training.

Does any of this provide concrete guidance? Do I know any more than you do about where Bryce Harper could possibly sign? I don't think so.

Of everything said this week, I think this indicates the most: Tom Wilson told NBC4 that Harper recently unfollowed a handful of Capitals players on social media

Read the tea leaves, or don’t. It's time to focus on spring training.

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Scott Boras doesn’t buy Mark Lerner can’t afford both Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon

Scott Boras doesn’t buy Mark Lerner can’t afford both Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon

The Nationals have a long and well-documented history of working out deals with agent Scott Boras. Max Scherzer, Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Matt Wieters are just a few of his clients who’ve signed with Washington in the past.

But that longstanding relationship may be tested this offseason, with Boras’ prized free agents Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon both on the open market. Principal owner Mark Lerner sat down with NBC Sports Washington on Thursday, admitting that the team doesn’t expect to retain both its former stars.

“We really can only afford to have one of those two guys,” Lerner said. “They’re huge numbers. We already have a really large payroll to begin with.”

Boras spoke with The Athletic shortly thereafter and didn’t agree with the notion that Washington was strapped financially.

“The Nationals are experiencing a revenue festival in 2020,” Boras texted Ken Rosenthal on Friday morning. “World Series momentum has blossomed, millions in DC.

“The franchise value has increased by nearly $2 billion since their purchase. The Nationals made an extra $30 million winning the World Series. Attendance will increase by more than four to five hundred thousand. TV ratings and advertising rates all skyrocketed.

“Everyone in DC knows special cherry trees create revenue bloom.”

Rosenthal noted that Boras may have overstated the value of the Nationals’ franchise, as Forbes pegged it at $1.75 billion entering the season. The Lerner family purchased the team from Major League Baseball in 2006 for $450 million.

Nationals President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo spoke with reporters at the premiere of the World Series documentary on Monday, saying both free agents “know where our heart lies.” Rizzo added that while team officials haven’t sat down with either of them so far this winter, “we’ve been meeting for about 10 years.”

Whether Lerner was just using a negotiating tactic to drive the prices down or speaking bluntly on the team’s budget remains to be seen, but the prospects of either player returning to D.C. won’t be nil until they’ve both inked new deals.

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How to watch: Nationals Talk Livestream from the Winter Meetings

How to watch: Nationals Talk Livestream from the Winter Meetings

The Washington Nationals entered the offseason with less pressure than any other team in the majors after winning their first World Series title in franchise history. But that doesn’t mean they have short winter shopping list.

The Nationals lost a slew of contributors to free agency, highlighted by World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg and NL MVP candidate Anthony Rendon. They also have holes to fill at first and second base in addition to needing upgrades on the bench and in the bullpen.

At the Winter Meetings, President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo will be in close proximity of every agent and general manager in the sport for four days. NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes, Travis Thomas and Tim Shovers will be in studio while Nationals Insider Todd Dybas will be live from Winter Meetings in San Diego providing up-to-the-minute news and analysis.

Here’s everything you need to know about the event.

2019 MLB Winter Meetings

Where: San Diego, CA

When: Sunday, Dec. 8 to Thursday, Dec. 12

Live stream: The crew will go live from 1-2 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on the MyTeams app and NBCSportsWashington.com

TV channel: Replays will air Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night at 11 p.m.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Nationals and all your favorite teams easily on your mobile device.

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