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Exclusive: Nats owner Mark Lerner says they haven't heard from Bryce Harper and Scott Boras in months

Exclusive: Nats owner Mark Lerner says they haven't heard from Bryce Harper and Scott Boras in months

Click the podcast below to hear Mark Lerner's full interview and read more from Todd Dybas here.

The Washington Nationals are officially moving on from Bryce Harper.

"Nothing's certainly changed on our end," owner Mark Lerner told NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas Friday. "We've moved on. As I said back then and we had to. There was no way we could wait around. Bryce, I'm sure will make his decision hopefully in the next few days, but we've filled out our roster and like I said, we wish him nothing but the best."

Before the end of the 2018 season, the Nats presented Harper and his agent Scott Boras a 10-year, $300 million offer to which they declined. 

There have been reports that multiple teams have been in on the Harper sweepstakes, most notably the Phillies, Padres and Giants. As far as recent talks with the Nationals?  There haven't been any.

"But there's always that, the door's cracked a little bit," Lerner added. "I have no clue at this point what they're up to. We really haven't heard from them in a couple months."

Stay tuned to NBC Sports Washington for more on this breaking news. 

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How Nats fans should view letting Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon walk in back-to-back years

How Nats fans should view letting Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon walk in back-to-back years

When you are as successful as the Washington Nationals, and as good at replenishing your roster with talent as they are, apparently this is the cost of doing business.

For the second straight winter, the Nats have let an elite player walk in free agency. First, it was Bryce Harper, who left to join the Phillies. This time it is Anthony Rendon, who has signed a seven-year contract worth $245 million to play for the Los Angeles Angels.

Both entered free agency as the best position players on the market, perennial MVP candidates who could someday make the Hall of Fame. But the Nationals don't pay position players, they pay starting pitchers and that blueprint helped them win the World Series just six weeks ago.

The fact Rendon got an identical contract from the Angels that Stephen Strasburg did from Washington solidifies the fact they had to choose between them on equal footing. One was not cheaper than the other, this was about big-picture philosophy. This was ownership giving general manager Mike Rizzo a budget and him choosing to allocate money in his rotation and not in his lineup.

Rizzo, of course, has now been a part of two World Series teams that employed that strategy, if you include his days as the scouting director in Arizona. They won the 2001 title and did so with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling leading the way.

The Nationals' decisions to let Harper and Rendon walk should be viewed through that lens. And they should also be stowed away for future reference.

Surely, the idea of letting one player walk to sign another can't be cited ever again. Just because they didn't pay Harper didn't mean they would pay Rendon, and we should know better when looking ahead to Juan Soto, Trea Turner and others.

Those are the main takeaways from Rendon's departure from a baseball perspective, which is the way Rizzo and his front office are paid to view things. But certainly hammering home those details will only do so much to make Nationals fans feel better as they watch another homegrown, likeable star venture off to another team.

What Nationals fans have experienced in these two cases, both within 10 months of each other, is not normal. To lose two players of this caliber in consecutive offseasons is a uniquely tough pill to swallow. That's a lot of jerseys that won't be worn anymore.

Few fanbases have been fortunate enough in recent years to even have two players as good as Harper and Rendon on the same team at the same time. That extends to having them leave. Usually, players as good as they are don't go elsewhere and, if they do, it is because they play for small market teams with low payrolls, and often their exits feel inevitable.

The Nationals aren't a small market team and, as much as some fans might argue, they aren't cheap. But they have acquired so much talent over the past 10 years that they simply can't keep them all.

So, in a way, it can be seen as a good thing. Harper and Rendon left in part because the Nats have a surplus of talent. And, in true Rizzo form, they have replacements waiting in the wings.

When Harper dipped for Philly, there were questions of whether Soto and Victor Robles could replace his production. They not only stepped up to mitigate the loss, but Soto is now by most accounts even better than Harper.

With Rendon now gone, the Nats can turn to Carter Kieboom. He may not play third base, but he's an infielder and a right-handed batter who hits for average and power. He's a top-20 MLB prospect and last season hit .303 with a .902 OPS in Triple-A.

Harper and Rendon aren't the first stars to leave their team in free agency, and Rendon isn't the first to jump ship right after winning a World Series. In L.A., he will join arguably the most famous case of that, Albert Pujols who after winning a title with the Cardinals in 2011 left to sign with the Angels.

Nationals fans should just take solace in the fact the team's front office is always thinking ahead. Plenty of talent remains on the roster and reinforcements are on the way.

Just like how fans became further attached to Rendon when Harper left, it's time to do the same with Soto or someone else. As the churn continues, enjoy them while they last.

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Bryce Harper congratulates Anthony Rendon on Instagram story with no Nats logo in sight

Bryce Harper congratulates Anthony Rendon on Instagram story with no Nats logo in sight

Bryce Harper congratulated his former teammate Anthony Rendon on his Instagram story on Wednesday night after the latter reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Harper left the Nationals prior to the start of the 2019 season to join the Phillies on a 13-year, $330 million contract. 

It's worth noting that in the picture Harper used, there is no mention of the Nationals. Was it intentional?

Both Harper and Rendon are represented by Scott Boras, who has been having a terrific week after securing a deal for Rendon. Not to mention Stephen Strasburg's extension with the Nationals, as well as the newest member of the Yankees' rotation, Gerrit Cole.

Rendon will team up with Mike Trout in Anaheim, who is definitely on board with the new contract signing.

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