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Nationals owner seems to close door on Bryce Harper coming back

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Today Patrick Corbin was officially introduced as the newest member of the Washington Nationals. The bigger news, I think, was what the Nats owner, Mark Lerner, said about a former National, Bryce Harper. Specifically, he seemed to pretty clearly be saying that the Nats are unwilling to bring him back, at least unless no one else is bidding for him.

From 106.7 The Fan FM in Washington, quoting Lerner, who was asked if they would go beyond the offer they reportedly made to him late in the season:

“Well, when we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ . . . If he chooses to go some place else, I totally understand it, but we put one heck of an offer out there . . . If he comes back [to negotiate with Washington], it’s a strong possibility that we won’t be able to make it work. But I really don’t expect him to come back at this point. I think they’ve decided to move on.”

Given that there is no salary cap, that the Nats do not publicly state what their actual budget and revenues and stuff are and given that the Lerners are richer than all get-out, it’s probably worth asking why he said they won’t “be able” to make it work as opposed to saying he merely wouldn’t be willing to make it work, but such is the way of the world in Major League Baseball.

White Sox won’t make bid for Bryce Harper

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The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.

Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.

Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.

The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.