When he appeared on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Grant and Danny Show with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier last week, Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was asked if the rumored 10-year/$300M offer that was made to Bryce Harper at the end of the 2018 campaign was a starting point or a final offer?
“Well we’re certainly not going to discuss over the air what our negotiating posture is and what our strategy is and that type of thing,” Rizzo told the show’s hosts.
“It was an offer, it was an offer out of respect to one of our hallmark players that I’ve know since he was 16 years old. It was driven and given by ownership directly to him.
“We’ve met with ownership several times with Harp and made an aggressive, market-value, respectful offer and wanted to treat him with the respect and — just the way we felt about him for so many years, we wanted to make it respectful and above board, and I thought we did that.”
Nationals’ Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner spoke with what seemed like a little more finality when he was asked the same question about the Nats’ offer by Paulsen and Rouhier today.
So was the 10-year/$300M deal a final offer?
“Well, when we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ We went right to the finish line very quickly,’ Lerner said. “And we said, ‘If this is of interest to you, please come back to us and we’ll see whether we can finish it up.’ But we just couldn’t afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that.”
”If they choose some other place, I totally understand,” he said. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for Bryce and Kayla and their family. But we have no hard feelings about it, I must say. I love Bryce and he was a good teammate here. If he chooses to go some place else, I totally understand it, but we put one heck of an offer out there.”
Mr. Lerner stressed that Harper and his family were loved by ownership and everyone in the nation’s capital, adding that, “... it’s hard to see somebody like that go, but unfortunately it’s a strong possibility that’s going to happen.”
With the moves the Nationals have made since, including the 6-year/$140M deal with lefty Patrick Corbin that was announced today, is the deal off the table now if Harper and agent Scott Boras were to decide to turn around and accept it after reportedly rejecting the offer in September?
“It very well may be,” Lerner said. “We’ll have to sit down and figure it out. If he comes back, 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. There’s just too much money out there that he’d be leaving on the table. That’s just not Mr. Boras’ MO to leave money on the table.”
So, is that it? In spite of all that was said above, Mr. Lerner also told the show’s hosts, “if we can’t do it, we can’t do it. Who knows what’ll happen the next few weeks? I don’t know. You don’t know. But, if he leaves, we wish him nothing but the best.”