Samson: Nationals will be a 'better team' without Bryce Harper

Josh Luckenbaugh
March 27, 2019 - 11:29 am

The National League East is expected to be one of the most tightly contested divisions in baseball this year, with the Nationals adding All-Star pitcher Patrick Corbin while losing Bryce Harper to the Phillies.

And according to former Marlins president David Samson, seeing Harper join a division rival will actually benefit the Nats. 

"The Nationals will be a better team this year. Addition by subtraction," Samson told the Sports Junkies Wednesday. "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, and the Nationals have tried and tried and tried with Bryce, and nothing works.

"Could not get out of the first round, and there obviously was something wrong. Is it all Harper's fault? Wait to see, but it is a better team this year, it's a better clubhouse. You have the top pitcher in (Max) Scherzer on the planet, you've got a deep rotation."

"It is a question mark with (Stephen) Strasburg because he does get injured all the time, but I love that you have a full season of (Juan) Soto, I love (Victor) Robles, I love the makeup of the team," Samson continued. "The bullpen's gonna be fine, (Dave) Martinez in his second year is better."

"Everyone who I'm talk to I'm trying to tell -- because they're saying 'Phillies, Braves, Phillies, Braves, Mets, Phillies' -- no, the Nationals. This is their division, I think this is the year that they actually have the best year they've had ever and go deeper in the playoffs than they ever have."

As for Harper and the Phillies, Samson expects them to disappoint in 2019. 

"Everyone is all over the Phillies, I think they've got a problem there," he told the Junkies. "I don't think you build a team around Harper ... I think there's more issues in Philly that we know about."

"If he wanted to be a Phillie so badly, he could've signed with them three months ago! Three months ago, and not gone through this ridiculous drama that he went through waiting for the last dollar."

"All he wanted was to beat Giancarlo Stanton's $325 (million contract), and a record that (Harper) held for a very short period of time thanks to the signing of (Mike) Trout.

"So was it all worth it? I guess he's gonna eat a lot of cheesesteak and he's happy there and he can reruit players, and all of that stuff," Samson added. "I've been in the game for a long time, it is ridiculous. No player signs with another team because they're recruited by a current teammate."

"It's not like the NBA where players get together and choose a team together, it's not like that. Baseball players go where the money is."

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