Nationals Reportedly Put Bryce Harper on Trade Waivers, Which Probably Doesn't Matter

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Nationals Reportedly Put Bryce Harper on Trade Waivers, Which Probably Doesn’t Matter

Chicago Cubs

After having their spirits crushed by David Bote and the Chicago Cubs, the Washington Nationals folded against the St. Louis Cardinals, and saw their hopes at a playoff spot shrink to the 10 to 15% range.

Outside of dumping Brandon Kintzler on the Cubs, the Nationals decided to sit out the non-waiver trade teadline, and they’ve done nothing to move themselves in a positive direction since. With 10 days to go before the waiver trade deadline, perhaps now the Nationals will decide to pull the plug more aggressively if possible?

As you know from reading the August Trade Waivers primer, the fact that Bryce Harper (and Daniel Murphy) are going on waivers at this time does not necessarily mean they will be going anywhere. Indeed, it’s far more likely they are not moved.

But if either player clears waivers, they can be freely traded. Or, if they are claimed, they can be traded to the team with the highest waiver priority (generally, worst record in the same league).

Why on earth would Harper clear waivers, you ask? Well, it’s extremely likely he would not, but sometimes you do see superstar types clear waivers because of the combination of an inability of teams to take on the salary at this point in the budget cycle and other teams choosing not to claim a player they believe they have no chance of actually acquiring in trade – remember, trade waivers are revocable. So, for some players, when you put in a claim, all you’re doing is blocking, since that player will just be revoked right off of waivers. Sometimes – whether by gentlemen’s agreement or not – you see guys pass through waivers even though lots of teams would want him, because they know they can’t get him anyway, and they might not want all their players blocked in the same fashion.

If that were to happen, well, we’d see some crazy Harper (and/or Murphy) trade rumors in the next 10 days.

Much more likely, though, is that Harper is claimed by a middling team in the National League (think a team with an outside shot at the Wild Card). That team won’t offer a ton in trade for Harper, since they’re the only possible trade partner (no leverage), and the Nationals wouldn’t accept anything other than a very significant return (you don’t dump a franchise player in August for nothing, especially when you hope to re-sign him). That huge disconnect in trade value will lead to no trade, and that’ll be that. Heck, we might not even hear about the waiver claim, which has to take place within 48 business hours.

It’s fun to follow this stuff, but I wouldn’t expect anything too sexy out of this. At most, maybe we’ll see the Nationals sell off a couple other parts.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.