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Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats telling teams Bryce Harper is available?

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand wrote tonight that the Nationals have told other teams that Bryce Harper is available...

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Not long after Yahoo!Sports.com’s Jeff Passan wrote that the Cleveland Indians, “make far and away the most sense,” as a trade partner for the Washington Nationals, if the Nats are actually going to deal Bryce Harper, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi wrote that the, “... Indians and Nationals have communicated recently regarding a possible Bryce Harper trade, sources told MLB.com on Monday, but the discussions have yet to gather momentum.”

Passan reasoned that the Indians are in need of outfield help and, “could absorb the remaining $7 million or so of Harper’s salary,” though the, “... issue would be the prospect cache the Nationals would demand,” in return for the 25-year-old slugger, who’s hasn’t hit for average this season, but leads the National League in walks and is currently tied for second in the NL with 25 home runs.

Of course the major caveat in the Yahoo!Sports’ article, is the fact that, as Passan writes, “... with less than 48 hours to go until the deadline, putting together a deal for Harper would be difficult,” and, “... the Nationals have shown no indications that they might consider dealing him.”

There has, however, been enough chatter about their willingness to deal the 2010 No. 1 pick that Harper, according to Passan, wondered whether he would be among those leaving two months-plus before he’s set to hit free agency (unless he and the Nationals somehow agree to a deal before this winter).

Harper, Passan wrote, “... asked friends and confidants whether they thought the Nationals might trade him, sources said.”

Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes wrote on Twitter on Monday afternoon, that she was getting, “... the sense from people around the team that as of mid-afternoon, Nationals had not ruled out trading Harper,” while noting that it’s still, “... unclear if that means they’re just doing due diligence on offers or soliciting them.”

A trade of Harper now would almost certainly bring a return that would exceed what the Nationals will receive in draft pick compensation if they just let him walk, (then make a qualifying offer he would almost certainly reject), since, as an organization that’s over the luxury tax threshold, the comp pick, “... will be placed after the fourth round has been completed,” if we’re (and others are) reading the rules for compensatory picks under the new CBA correctly.

But will GM Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office actually, you know, like, really consider trading Harper in the time remaining before tomorrow’s 4:00 PM EDT non-waiver trade deadline?

Oh...