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Wire Taps: Would Bryce Harper agree to short-term deal?; Padres talk to Bryce; Michael A. Taylor in arbitration hearing...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before another mystery team jumps into the Bryce Harper bazaar...

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper rumors! They’re back! (And the dam of free agents seems to be cracking if not breaking — but it seems that we’re headed for another slow-drip Spring Training of signings.)

Here’s the scoop from South Capitol:

Would Bryce Harper agree to a bridge contract? (Half Street Heart Attack)
Half Street Heart Attack returns — and with an interesting proposition. What if Harper leaves more than $250 million on the table, instead taking a short-term, high value contract that puts him back into a better free-agent market come 2022?

Why Harper (or Machado) to the Padres isn't as crazy as you think (ESPN)
Less media? Check. Close to home? Check. Young team ready to win? Well, sort of check. Money? (That's the main question — and the short answer is that San Diego has plenty of money lurking around.)

30 prospects that just missed the Top 100 (MLB.com)
Mason Denaburg will likely crack the top 100 next year once he pitches for a season.

Rich in prospects and low in payroll, Padres are an intriguing Bryce Harper suitor (WaPo)
Yes, they only won 66 games last year, but the Padres have ten of MLB.com's top 100 prospects, a wide-open division in which they can contend, and a chance to get Harper for much less than everyone predicted he would get. Sure, they could wait another year for Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado, and Chris Sale — but they could get Harper now and advance their timetable by a bit, something A.J. Preller has tried before.

Breaking down the surprise new team that jumped into the discussion on Bryce Harper's future (NBCSW)
"Location and lifestyle certainly fit. Access to his hometown would be readily available in a day. As previously mentioned, San Diego is San Diego... [but] where San Diego lags is tradition — something believed to be sought by Harper."

Batters up: Taylor-Nats, Correa-Astros as arbitration opens (AP)
Michael A. Taylor and the Nats are going to court over $250,000. Seems right.

Bold MLB predictions for February (MLB.com)
Harper and Manny Machado won't get mega-contracts — they'll get long-looking contracts with plenty of opt-outs (nobody wants players for a decade anymore, it seems) before the 2021 offseason.

Bryce Harper should not sign with the Padres (McCovey Chronicles)
The Giants' SBN blog, unsurprisingly, isn't too interested in having Harper move into their division, especially with a team that has a wealth of young players about ready to contribute.