This season has been an utter disaster for the Washington Nationals and their superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. The Nationals were supposed to be the kings of the NL East, but are fading in the standings.
Then to make matters worse, Harper is not having a great year at the plate. After getting off to a hot start to begin the season, the six-time All-star has a slash line of .246/.380./.511 with 30 home runs and 79 RBI.
In the first half of the regular season, Harper was looking like an MVP candidate, despite hitting .214 with 23 home runs and 54 RBI.
There is also Harper’s looming free agency, which could create a huge power shift in baseball this offseason.
All signs point to the 25-year-old taking his talents to the free agent market, where he could get a luxurious contract upwards of $400 million. If this is the case, then that eliminates many teams from the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.
However, one team that it does not eliminate is the Philadelphia Phillies. Washington’s division rival has been mentioned as a potential landing spot for the outfielder and an unidentified general manager agrees with that notion.
Last week, Jon Heyman of FanCred Sports wrote in one of his Inside Baseball columns that a rival general manager thinks that Harper ends up with the Phillies.
Heyman also mentioned in his story that a person connected to the Phillies threw the idea out there that the team will talk to both Harper and Manny Machado and would not rule out the option of signing both guys.
While it is highly improbable that Philadelphia would sign both superstar free agents, Harper seems like the best fit.
Where would Bryce Harper play at with Phillies?
As of right now, starting right fielder Nick Williams is under contract until 2024 and won’t become arbitration eligible until 2021.
Even though he is playing great this season with a .264 batting average to go with 17 home runs and 49 RBI. There is no way the Phillies would turn down the opportunity to sign Harper and make Williams their fourth outfielder next season.
Another potential option for the Phillies could be to put Harper in center field, where he has played 38 games at this year and 158 games total over his seven-year career. Consequently, this means that the Phillies would have to deal current center fielder Odubel Herrera.
The Phillies could acquire a suitable starting pitcher for Herrera, who is on a team-friendly contract. But all these potential scenarios are hypotheticals at this point because we are still a ways out from free agency.
Nevertheless, the Phillies will not be the only team competing for the services of Bryce Harper. You can also expect the Nationals to not give up and for the New York Yankees to have some sort of interest.
During the trade deadline, it was reported that the Nationals made the superstar outfielder available. Obviously, nothing came out of it because Harper is still in Washington.
This offseason should be fun to see what the Phillies are able to do. They are definitely on the right path to possibly take over NL East once again and adding Harper this winter would make them a sure-fire favorite in 2019.