Verducci: Nats end pursuit of Harper 'way too easily'

Ben Krimmel
December 08, 2018 - 10:56 am

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports


In a "staggering" move, the Washington Nationals are moving on from free agent Bryce Harper "way too easily," MLB analyst Tom Vercducci said Friday.  

"I believe the offer that they made, was a fantastic offer, right? In a vacuum," Verducci said on MLB Tonight. "But in the real world offering him less than Giancarlo Stanton, who signed his extension in Miami without the benefit of free agency, to expect (Harper) is going to agree to this deal when he's just days, weeks away from being a free agent, they knew he wasn't going to take it, right?"

"Now, they're not even coming back with a second offer. That tells me they were done with Bryce Harper, which is staggering," he said.

Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million contract extension from the Nationals as free agency began, an offer Washington Post columnist John Feinstein called a "PR move" by the Nats.

Friday on Grant & Danny, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner spoke with finality when describing the team's pursuit of Harper.

"Well, when we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, 'This is the best we can do.' We went right to the finish line very quickly,'" Lerner said. "And we said, 'If this is of interest to you, please come back to us and we'll see whether we can finish it up.' But we just couldn't afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that."

Verducci was somewhat incredulous Lerner and the Nats ended their pursuit so soon.

"This guy was the No. 1 pick in the draft, he should have played his entire career in a Nationals uniform, the definition of a franchise player, like a Chipper Jones," Verducci said. "And they are moving on, for me, way too easily from this kind of a talent."

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