Junkies on Bryce Harper: 'He knows it's over'

Josh Luckenbaugh
October 01, 2018 - 7:21 am

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Washington Nationals season is finally — and perhaps mercifully — over, the Nats finishing with a disappointing 82-80 record after the Rockies crushed them 12-0 in Sunday's season finale. 

But was the Colorado game not just the end of the season, but also the end of the Bryce Harper era in D.C., with the All-Star slugger set to hit free agency?

"He (Harper) knows it's over," Eric Bickel of The Sports Junkies said on Monday. "I think you could see it in the last few weeks. Just a lot of the comments, he just knows this is it. He's gonna move on."

"And I don't think he necessarily wants to, but it is hitting him. He's being a realist about it."

In an emotional interview with MASN's Dan Kolko following the season finale, a visibly emotional Harper said, "If I'm back then I'd love to be, and if not, we'll see what happens."

He went on to salute Nats fans: "I just want to thank them. They were the first ones to give me a standing O, to be able to hit a walk-off homer and have them cheering me. Then, to show up every single night and day-in, day-out, they were with us. From the first time I stepped foot in that stadium, they had my back and they were behind me."

"I can't thank them enough and I love D.C. That's what it's all about."

It's clear, from both his words and actions, Harper would love to remain in Washington. But the question remains: can the Nats afford his likely nine-figure salary, as well as fill other holes on the roster?

"25-years old, the prime of his career, he's set to make a lot of money, and I don't necessarily think the Lerners are gonna write that check," Bickel said.

"I understand the business side of it, but if he wants to stay in Washington, he can," John-Paul Flaim countered. "It's within his power. Washington's gonna give him an offer. It may not be the absolute highest offer, but Rizzo's made it clear on our show and elsewhere that they do want him. They're gonna pursue him."

However, Bickel was doubtful the Nats would be able to offer him anything close to what he and agent Scott Boras would want, considering the other acquisitions and financial moves the Nats need to make this offseason. 

"They need two frontline starting pitchers, plus they need to redo Rendon's deal and they need to redo Trea. That's why, the Harper thing, something has to give," Bickel said. "A lot of guys will take a little less, but it's gotta be close. I'm not even sure the Nats are gonna be close."

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