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The Nationals seem back in the mix to land Bryce Harper. What does that mean for him, the team?

The Nationals seem back in the mix to land Bryce Harper. What does that mean for him, the team?

A pivot hit the Bryce Harper pursuit this week when multiple reports placed the Nationals back in the mix. 

They met with Harper following the Winter Meetings, according to those reports, putting a twist on their standing with the uber-free agent this offseason.

That change anchored discussion on the most recent Racing Presidents podcast. What does it mean for the Nationals? What does it mean for the Harper market?

Washington again meeting with Harper becomes a two-fold situation. First, it allows the Nationals to appear they are back in negotiations after prior public statements indicated they could be out. Second, it does improve their chances. Even if that improvement is merely incremental.

Mike Rizzo contended the Nationals’ door was open for further talks. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, said his long-standing relationship with the Lerner family prompts him to listen to what they have to say. 

“The Lerners and Bryce are both collectively going to do what’s best for them,” Boras told NBC Sports Washington at the Winter Meetings. “I think going into this situation in D.C. whether it be Max [Scherzer] or [Stephen Strasburg] or even the draft picks themselves, we’ve had very productive results and the franchise has grown dramatically. 

“They’re a multi-billion dollar franchise. Their attendance has gone up from way back when they started in the early 2010s. The winning has been great. I’m sure they want to get to the higher levels. But for franchises that hope to aspire to where they are, I think it’s all gone positively. It’s been a great working relationship with the Lerner family and the Nationals and Mike Rizzo. For those reasons we just continue to talk and see where we can go.”

It seems those talks have continued. Though, it’s still unclear where they can go. 
 

Hear more on Thursday's Racing Presidents podcast.

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Stephen Strasburg reportedly lobbying for Anthony Rendon to return to the Nationals

Stephen Strasburg reportedly lobbying for Anthony Rendon to return to the Nationals

With the MLB offseason just getting underway, Stephen Strasburg has already accomplished his main goal. Signing a massive seven-year, $245 million deal with the Nationals on Monday, he got the money and the opportunity to return to the team he started his career and won a World Series with.

Now, he's focused on completing his second goal of the offseason: bring back Anthony Rendon.

Strasburg is reportedly heavily involved in trying to bring the MVP-caliber third baseman back to DC as the pitcher is making his case to both Rendon and the Nationals front office, according to MASN's Mark Zuckerman.

When Strasburg inked his contract on Monday, many believed it meant the end of the line for the Nationals chances to re-sign Rendon, as Nationals owner Mark Lerner even mentioned it would be hard to sign both. However, it appears that the pitcher is thinking anything but that. Besides reportedly getting involved in the pitch to Rendon, Strasburg also seemed to have Rendon in mind when figuring out the terms to his new deal.

Within the total amount of money, Strasburg's contract features $80 million in deferred money, which can help the Nationals work toward potentially signing other players. Scott Boras, the agent to both Rendon and Strasburg, alluded to that on Tuesday saying that Strasburg's deal could create a new "opening" in the Rendon negotiations.

Even if the deferred money from Strasburg and his dedication to trying to get Rendon back may help, it won't be that easy for the Nationals. Boras said on Tuesday that Rendon has already received more than a few seven-year offers, meaning that he'll come with a hefty price tag.

However, Zuckerman did report that Rendon may be slowly becoming more open to the idea of deferred money in his contract, something that didn't look to be a possibility at first, citing Strasburg's decision and Washington's ability to continue to contend as factors.

Getting Anthony Rendon back to the Nationals won't happen as fast as it did with Strasburg, if it happens at all. Yet plenty of Nationals fans want the team to do whatever it takes to make it happen, and Strasburg looks to be in the same boat.

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Phillies sign infielder Didi Gregorius, per report

Phillies sign infielder Didi Gregorius, per report

The Philadelphia Phillies have been rumored to have interest in third baseman Anthony Rendon, but they added a different infielder on Tuesday.

Former Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia, according to MLB Network's Joel Sherman. 

The deal is worth $14 million, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury.

The move reunites Gregorius with manager Joe Girardi, who was the Yankees skipper from 2008 through 2017. The 29-year-old infielder had spent the past five seasons with New York.

Although Gregorius has played almost every game of his career at shortstop, it is unclear what position he will play in Philadelphia. The Phillies have both Jean Segura and Scott Kingery capable of playing the middle infield positions. In 841 career games, Gregorius has played shortstop for 828 out of them, with 11 appearances at second base and two at third. 

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