Did the Nationals Make a Mistake by Keeping Harper?

Did the Nationals Make a Mistake by Keeping Harper?

With the trade deadline behind us, and a lot of action on the day of the deadline and the days leading up to it, I can’t help but wonder why the Nationals didn’t move Bryce Harper. Given what has been made publicly known that Harper has every intention of becoming a free agent after this season, and with the Nationals now in 3rd place in the NL East (albeit only five games out of first), the Nationals could have gotten some serious talent to loan Harper to a team on the verge of making the playoffs.Harper is not having a great year, especially during a contract year. Right now, the Home Run Derby champ is batting .230/.377/.492 (Baseball-Reference.com). To be fair though, his power numbers look good with is 26 home runs which is good enough for second in the league. Not exactly the typical Harper numbers we are used to seeing in his young career.

T-Mobile Home Run Derby

Regardless, there is no debating that Harper is extremely talented and would bolster any lineup in all of baseball. Perhaps his subpar season is why the Nationals didn’t move him, or maybe why other teams didn’t inquire about him to begin with.Teams like the Oakland Athletics might have made a run for him who have the 7th best farm system in the league (mlb.com). The A’s play in the dreaded West right now up against the Astros and Mariners. Though if the season were to end today, the A’s would be in the Wild Card Game, but had they gone after Harper that might have helped them make it to the next round.No way the Nationals were going to give up Harper to someone in their own division. The Phillies have a strong system too and are already in 1st place in the division so no chance that he would have ended up there even for 3-4 prospects. The exact same argument can be said for the Braves who are only a 0.5 game out of 1st place with arguable the strongest system in MLB.

Bryce Harper - Sporting News

So, who could have ended up with Harper? I can make a strong argument for the A’s but even teams like the Yankees could have gone after him. Could you imagine though? A Yankees team with Harper, Stanton, and Judge? Not to mention all the other crazy talent they have.Every time Harper’s name comes up you must mention the Chicago Cubs too. Though at this point, the Cubs would have to give up too much of their current MLB roster to be lent Harper. The Cubs simply do not have the farm system anymore (they’ve all been promoted). In the same division though, the Brewers could have made a run for him too and didn’t. The Brewers do not have a strong farm system either and maybe that’s what did them in as well.

Whether or not the Nationals wanted prospect is uncertain anyways, I can only guess. Speaking of guesses though; Gomez Guess says no way that Harper is a Washington National next year. Had the Nationals been confident that Harper would return next year they absolutely would have moved him this year. One year away from the playoffs for the Nationals (although when they do make the playoffs can’t seem to find the magic to get passed the divisional round) and bring in some talent to surround Harper could have set them up for the next several years in the NL East regardless of how well the Phillies and Braves’ farm systems look like now.

Where do our readers think Harper will end up next year? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: Brad Mills

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

Photo Credit: Sporting News

Video Credit: ESPN

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