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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.

Mariners, Indians and Rays make a three-way swap

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The Indians, Mariners, and Rays are working toward finalizing a three-team trade. The full details have not been revealed yet, and there are conflicting reports as to who is going where, but we know that Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion are involved.

Initial reports have the Mariners getting Edwin Encarnacion from the Indians in exchange for Carlos Santana, with Cleveland also receiving first baseman Jake Bauers from the Rays. Outfielder/third baseman Yandy Diaz will reportedly head to Tampa Bay along with a player to be named later. There has been a conflict in the past few minutes, however as to where Encarnacion is actually going: Seattle or Tampa Bay. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com says it’s Seattle, Bob Nightengale says it’s Tampa Bay. We’ll know soon enough, I suppose.

Santana played for the Phillies last year and was traded to Seattle just a couple of weeks ago. He’ll never have a chance to wear a Mariners uniform and, instead, will go back to Cleveland, where he played his entire career until 2018. Encarnacion has spent the last two years in Cleveland. Santana is owed $35 million over the next two seasons and has a 2021 buyout. Encarnacion is owed $24 million in 2019 if you include the buyout on his 2020 club option.  If Encarnacion is going to Seattle, you have to figure that the Mariners will flip him in mid-season if possible.