A little less than a month ago, Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner seemed to close the door on Bryce Harper coming back. At least unless he accepted the reported $300 million offer the club made Harper before the season began. The message from Lerner in December being that the Nats won’t go any higher than that and won’t negotiate about it. It was, basically, a take-it-or-leave it offer.
Or was it?
Also worth noting that Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reported earlier this week that Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, had a five-hour meeting with the Nationals before Christmas.
It’s worth mentioning that Bowden is a former Nationals general manager. For her part, Janes has, in the past, been known to pass along talking points from the Nationals fairly uncritically. As such, it’s possible that this is all just stuff coming from the Nationals in an effort to make it seem like they’re working hard to bring Harper back, either to make fans less mad at them if he walks or to drive up the price for the division rival Phillies, who are said to be interested in Harper. Of course, if a five-hour meeting did happen, there had to be at least some turkey talked, right? It’s not like they were watching the first two “Godfather” movies back-to-back. Which would be cool, obviously, but not really productive.
All of which is to say that the previous talk about the Nats not negotiating with Harper at all seems no longer operative and they have to at least be considered some sort of contender to bring their former outfielder back.