Nats won't discuss Harper contract 'until there's something to announce'

Chris Lingebach
September 12, 2018 - 2:50 pm

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo won't publicly discuss contract negotiations with Bryce Harper "until there's something to announce," he told The Sports Junkies Wednesday.

That precise wording came during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance, sponsored by Burke & Herbert Bank. Rizzo was asked for details of the negotiations, which he's previously said are ongoing but "complicated."

"Or is that just going to be something that happens at the end of the year," he was asked.

"That's going to happen between the Boras camp and our camp," Rizzo said. "We won't discuss it until there's something to announce."

Harper, in an MLB Network appearance on Monday, avoided commenting about his future with the Nationals, until he was asked about playing alongside a 'dream team' of Juan Soto and Victor Robles. After expressing how vibrant their futures are in baseball, Harper, unsolicited, added, "It's going to be an exciting future for the Nationals, and we'll see if I'm in those plans."

Asked if the two sides are still communicating, Rizzo told The Junkies, "Oh yeah. We're in constant communication with Bryce and with his camp and with Boras. We've got a lot of business that we do with Boras Corporation and, suffice it to say, we talk quite a bit about a lot of players on the team."

Rizzo was then asked if, in the back of his mind, he has an idea of how the negotiations will ultimately play out, or, if the end result is still totally up in the air.

"I think it's up in the air," he said. "It's a negotiation and it's a discussion at this point. I certainly don't know what the end result is going to be."

"We like Bryce. We like him here. We want him here," he added. "I think he likes it here. I think he would like to be here. But it's got to work for both parties. So Bryce has to be comfortable here, and we have to be comfortable that it fits in with our model of what we're trying to do long term and the ability to put players around him. A lot of things go into it.

"Like I said before, it's a complicated negotiation and discussion and planning stages and that type of thing. We love Harp. I love him personally and professionally and of course we'd love to see him here long term."

Last week we wrote about how re-signing Harper, while a great outcome for the Nationals, would likely trigger a secondary move involving Adam Eaton. It would be difficult for the two right fielders to coexist in an outfield also consisting of Soto and Robles. It would be challenging to find enough playing time to go around.

Asked if re-signing Harper would trigger a trade of some sort, Rizzo said, "You're getting way ahead of yourself right there. So after we do this, the hypothetical is we'll be in really good position to do a lot of things. Having too many good outfielders that have options and different things is a good thing, so we'll figure that part of it out."

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