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Wire Taps: Phillies enamored with Bryce Harper; Nationals officially ink Brian Dozier to deal; Victor Robles’s defense

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you recover from the weekend...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

So, here we are. After an offseason of doubt, after seven years of wondering: it looks like a team that isn’t the Washington Nationals might sign Bryce Harper. Maybe it won’t pan out; maybe he’ll end up in Seattle. But prepare yourselves now for 18 Harper rematches a year.

Here’s the news from Nationals Park:

Bryce Harper: Philadelphia Phillies are front-runners after meeting (USA Today)
"The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of ongoing negotiations, but the Phillies have become the most aggressive team in their pursuit for Harper while the Nationals’ interest appears to be waning. Nationals executives are now calling a reunion with Harper a “long shot.""

Dozier passes physical, Reynolds designated for assignment (MASN)
Last September, Dozier admitted he had played through a right knee injury for the entire year—perhaps explaining his drop in power—but he passed the physical for the Nats yesterday.

Twists and turns keep coming in Harper sweepstakes (NBCSW)
"No easy path toward a conclusion seemed imminent from the start, not with so much money on the line."

Manny Machado has 8-year offer via Chicago White Sox (ESPN.com)
"The Phillies, as anticipated, could serve as the fulcrum for where two of the most talented free agents in a generation wind up, according to sources. Though a USA Today report deemed Philadelphia a ‘clear-cut favorite’ to sign Harper, the Washington Nationals remain a possible landing spot for the 26-year-old outfielder, according to sources."

Phils' interest in Harper should boost White Sox' chances for Machado (Chicago Sun Times)
If the Phillies spend a ton of money on Bryce Harper, an outcome seeming increasingly likely, then Manny Machado may be on the way to the South Side.

What did the Phillies bring to Bryce Harper? (MLB.com)
Allen Iverson? NSYNC? Cheesesteaks? ...Gritty?

Phillies meet with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas (MLB.com)
While Machado has a formal offer on the table, the Phillies may be honing in on Bryce Harper, who they found remarkably impressive along with Kayla Harper.

Optimism high, perfect storm forming for Phillies to get Bryce Harper or Manny Machado (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"The Nationals have still been in the Harper sweepstakes, even though they’ve already spent themselves to the $200 million mark for 2019. But how far beyond their own reported 10-year, $300 million offer for Harper can they go? Another club, the Phillies, should be capable of outbidding."

Bryce Harper, Manny Machado mystery teams (MLB.com)
Harper in San Francisco? Machado in Houston? It very well might be possible.

MLB Pipeline's 2019 All-Defense Team (MLB.com)
Even though Victor Robles was hurt for nearly half the season, his center field skills have made him one of the most appealing defensive prospects in baseball.

Each MLB team's player to be on roster in 2025 (MLB.com)
If Juan Soto is willing to extend or stay in Washington (and who knows what the world will look like in 2024), then it seems pretty likely.

MLB prospects with the best fastballs (MLB.com)
Tanner Rainey, who the Nats received in return for Tanner Roark, has a "legitimate triple-digit arm," apparently. Who knew?