Despite our best hopes that Bryce Harper being on the block would be a fun-as-heck rumor to track today (even if the Cubs didn’t make sense as a suitor), it sounds like the Nationals are making it very official that he’s not going anywhere.
And, more than that, they might not sell at all today:
Mike Rizzo just reached out with this message:
"Bryce is not going anywhere. I believe in this team."
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 31, 2018
Fair guess is that the Nationals shopped around, and simply didn’t find the kind of overwhelming offers out there that would push them to sell (especially in the saturated relief market). Again, that would be a fair guess, but for this report:
At least one team in touch with the Nationals heard the club had deals "lined up" for multiple players, including Bryce Harper, but got the sense ownership pulled the plug late last night.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) July 31, 2018
In other words, it may not be that the front office “believe[s] in this team,” it may instead be that ownership stepped in and forced their hand. If that’s true, I generally dislike the idea of ownership stepping directly into baseball operations matters if they’ve deemed it best for the organization. That said, ownership does, you know, own the thing, and they have a different set of priorities sometimes. It doesn’t automatically make them wrong. Just different.
As outside spectators, though, it’s a bummer. A Nats selloff, including with Harper, would have been wild to watch unfold.