In the trainwreck season that has been the Washington Nationals this year, it has been speculated that they would consider being sellers at this years trade deadline. To call this season a disappointment is putting it mildly. From World Series expectations to one of the 5 National League teams to be under .500, the Nationals are fully fledged in mediocrity. Consider this recent report from MLB columnist Jeff Passan
Sources: The Washington Nationals have started discussions with teams to gauge interest if they decide to sell. Of particular interest are Kelvin Herrera, Shawn Kelley and Ryan Madson, three free-agent-to-be relievers. Nats are telling teams they’ll know by end of weekend.
The Nationals should trade Bryce Harper. This is something that would mutually benefit both sides. Harper, the free agent to be, is in the midst of a disappointing season that finds him hitting .216 with 25 homers, 59 RBIs, an OBP of .363, and OPS of .839. Now, to any non Bryce Harper player, these numbers would qualify for a career year, but with Harper, someone hoping to cash in on a $350-400 million dollar, he hasn’t lived up to his MVP caliber of play.
A trade could mutually benefit both parties. The Nationals could retool their solid yet middle-of-the-pack farm system with some high quality prospects from a contender who could use the left handed slugger for a deep playoff run. The trade could also rejuvenate Harper, much like many had hoped his win in the Washington DC hosted home run derby would do. He’s only hitting .200 this July so any team trading big prospects for him would be doing so in faith that a change of scenery would jolt his bat back to life.
What team makes the most sense?
The Astros come into mind with their stocked farm system and right handed dominated lineup. Plugging a bat like that into their lineup and into that ballpark would make them prohibitive favorites in the extremely tough American League. A similar package to what the Dodgers gave Baltimore for Manny Machado should suffice given the closer proximity to the deadline coming in less than 5 days. Perhaps 2 of the Astros top 10 prospects plus a lesser piece (top 30 prospect) gets this done.
Odds are the Nationals will not trade their mega star despite their long shot odds to win the NL pennant this year. The Nationals should be aggressive here. Harper’s time in DC has been filled with huge expectations and small results. Nationals could absolutely trade Bryce Harper and this offseason, look to re-sign him (think NYY and Chapman a few offseasons ago). If that doesn’t happen, 19 year old phenom Juan Soto looks more than capable to pick up the slack Harper will leave behind.