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What should the Nationals do with Bryce Harper?

Bryce Harper

The MLB playoffs are almost upon us and the Washington Nationals are more than likely missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Once the season ends and a team is crowned 2018 champion, all eyes will be upon the star-studded cast that is also known as the 2018 free agents. The prized possession among them is Washington’s phenom outfielder, Bryce Harper. The biggest question the Nationals face this offseason is whether or not they are going to re-sign Bryce Harper.

The Dilemma

Fans are going to be upset the Nationals are debating whether or not to re-sign Harper. But take into fact that the team is already over the luxury tax. Offering Harper a contract that pays up to 400 million dollars will force the Nationals to pay large amounts of taxes in the coming years. The Nationals would have to open up the checkbooks to keep the face of the franchise in Washington for the foreseeable future.

Resigning Harper is definitely a win, but is it worth it if it means mortgaging the future to accomplish this. The upcoming free agent class is full of All-Stars not named Harper that include Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw depending on his player option, Josh Donaldson, Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez, and many more. The Nationals could decide Harper will be to expensive and sign some of the other free agents to load up for a 2019 title run.

Sign Him

Just sign the man already. Bryce Harper started off the 2018 season in the worst slump of his career. Harper entered the All-star break hitting a meager .214 with 23 home runs. His power was still on full display but Harper was struggling to hit the ball on a consistent basis. Then came the 2018 Home Run Derby that was at Harper’s home stadium. The superstar put on a show and after a come from behind win, was crowned champion.

Since the break Harper has turned things around and is now hitting .251 with 32 home runs. His most recent achievement came today when he was named player of the week as he hit .438 with 7 RBI’s. Harper has shown that his slump is a thing of the past and is worth every penny. Many analysts are predicting that Harper’s next contract will be close to $400 million and the Nationals need to match any offer.

Let Him Walk and Bet on the in House Talent

Bryce Harper
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images. Image courtesy of Federal Baseball.

Letting Bryce Harper walk for nothing right as he hits his prime is a huge pill to swallow for Nationals fans. Fortunately, the Nationals have found themselves another star in the making who is only 19 years old. Juan Soto is currently hitting .298 with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs. Soto was only called up due to the numerous injuries to the Nationals outfields as well as injury to top prospect Victor Robles but he took advantage of his opportunity. When Michael A. Taylor returned from injury he had lost his starting spot to the 19-year-old. Soto has proved that the Nationals can survive without Harper. Another positive is Soto will be playing on his rookie contract for the next six years.

Another reason the Nationals might be willing to let Harper leave is Victor Robles. The 21-year-old outfield prospect has raked at the Triple-A level hitting .278 with 14 stolen bases. Opponents have not found a way to slow him down. A career .300 hitter in the minors, Robles is having somewhat of a down year due to hyper-extending his elbow early on in the season. The Nationals have recently called up Robles to give him a month in the big leagues to prove himself. September will allow for the Nationals front office to decide if Robles is the player they all believe he can be or if keeping Harper is the best option for the club moving forward. Known for his speed, Robles will be able to patrol center field with ease.  An outfield with Adam Eaton, Juan Soto and Victor Robles is not too shabby.

 

Feature Image From Washington Times.

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