UPDATE: Nationals GM Mike Rizzo just told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that “Bryce is not going anywhere. I believe in this team.”
Thus ends that bit of speculation.
10:26AM: Last night we learned that the Washington Nationals, still treading water in the NL East, below .500 and several games behind the Phillies and Braves, were at least considering a major selloff. Perhaps even including Bryce Harper, who would easily be the biggest name traded at the deadline in some time.
While any trade of Harper seems like it’d be a long shot, it now sounds like even the long shot odds of dealing him are out of the question:
It probably makes a lot of baseball sense to trade Harper given where the Nats are at the moment, but I have no idea how, as an entertainment enterprise, you deal him without your business being construed as a spectacular failure. I mean, if a two-time defending division champ (a) fires it’s 90+ game-winning manager; (b) underachieves spectacularly; and (c) sells off the most famous ballplayer in D.C. in, like, a century, I’m pretty sure it says more about the folks running the team than the players, and I doubt those running the team want that kind of blame.