Bryce Harper, Nationals no longer negotiating, owner says

Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner right greets pitcher Patrick Corbin left during a baseball news conference at Nationals Park in Washington Friday Dec. 7 2018. Corbin agreed to terms on a six-year contract and joins the Nationals after playin

Patrick Corbin put on his No. 46 Washington Nationals…Enlarge

"I think they've chose to move on". "That's just not Mr. Boras" MO to leave money on the table".

Lerner advanced the notion that Harper shouldn't be expected back in Washington by saying he will "totally understand" if he signs with another team and implying the team might not have the ability to up the $300 million ante it set. It didn't take long until the questions started to focus on free agent right fielder Bryce Harper.

While Lerner didn't comment on the size of the team's reported last-minute extension offer - it was reported to be worth $300MM over 10 years - he also made it clear that the Nats likely do not have a higher offer in them. "We'll find out when everybody else finds out, I guess".

Even if Harper was willing to accept the previous Nationals offer, Lerner said he wasn't sure the team could now make it work.

As it stands, the Nationals will enter 2019 with an outfield of Adam Eaton, Juan Soto, Michael A. Taylor and Victor Robles.

"We feel very strongly we're in good shape", Lerner said. "And I think Adam with the two young guys, it's going to be a special outfield".

The odds of Bryce Harper re-signing with the Nationals once he became a free agent always felt long, not with some of baseball's most iconic and cash-infused franchises certain to be involved in a bidding war for a 26-year-old seeking the biggest contract in American sports history.

In his MASN interview, Lerner added the lack of any subsequent talks with Harper over the last two months. We gave him a fabulous offer, something we felt we could afford, and it's in their hands where they want to be. "You can't be mad at him, and I don't think he'd be mad at us if we can't go any further". "He's an awesome young man, and it was an honor to have him here". Whether that's based upon specific knowledge or just his sense of things isn't clear; regardless, it's a notable statement from someone as well-placed as anyone to know how the market is developing for a top-shelf free agent represented by Boras (who has negotiated many a deal with the Lerners). "But, if he leaves, we wish him nothing but the best".

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