The Nationals have built a contending roster without Bryce Harper. What if he stays in D.C.?

Where is the market for Bryce Harper? Whose dog did Manny Machado kick?

And the way sensible-plus-lucky do the Nationals look proper now?

The Nats’ offseason Plan B — to rebuild their roster on the idea free agent Harper would go away — now has an opportunity to turn out to be a tremendous A-plus.

This winter the Nats have added Patrick Corbin, Yan Gomes, Kurt Suzuki, Trevor Rosenthal, Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Barraclough, Matt Adams and, this week, Brian Dozier. What if Harper comes again to Washington, too?

What was unthinkable when the season ended, and kissed off as irrational by Nats principal owner Mark Lerner simply five weeks in the past, is now on the desk.

Maintain off on that thanks-for-the-reminiscences scoreboard video tribute to Harper when he comes again to Nationals Park this season as a Dodger, Yankee or Cub.

All the sudden twists on this offseason free agent world all of the sudden have turned electric — for baseball, and especially for Washington.

For complicated interlocking causes, including (apparently) tepid curiosity from the glamorous massive-market teams, the worth for Harper and Machado may be $50 million to $one hundred million lower than appeared doubtless in September when Harper turned down $300 million from the Nats.

Mr. Market, for reasons that appear silly or suspicious to me, has stated, “Meh.”

Now, the large-dollar gamers for Harper look like the White Sox, a franchise for which Harper won’t need to play because he’s sane. And the Phillies, who’ve completely nothing to offer that Washington can’t match or exceed, except perhaps a mountain of money. Harper already says he loves D.C., and is aware of he is liked back. In Philly, they booed Santa.

On Friday, every Philadelphian of distinction, except Ben Franklin, reportedly went to Harper’s house in Las Vegas to woo him, including owner John Middleton, who has stated that he’s ready to pay “silly” money to land Harper or Machado.

What if the Phillies supply $425 million, with choose-out years, earplugs for residence video games and proper of first refusal if Philadelphia ever decides to promote the Liberty Bell?

Properly, the Nats tried. They stayed within the recreation and maintained good relations. They usually nonetheless can face their future with an enormous, fat grin with the staff they now have. Their outfield would include prized rookie Victor Robles, a full yr of Juan Soto and a totally-recovered proper fielder in Adam Eaton who has hit .300 as a Nat. They usually can nonetheless add a cheap fifth starter and another respectable reliever.

If, nevertheless, Harper appears at his previous acquainted Nats workforce, instantly refurbished, and decides that he’d like to return back to D.C. for something on the order of $325 million to $350 million for 10 years, then that’s a deal that in all probability can get achieved.

Earlier than the ink is dry, the Nats might be trying to commerce Eaton, and his workforce-friendly contract, plus “others,” for another vital pitching upgrade.

Oh, brother. If all that falls in place, we will begin designing the statues of Ted Lerner…

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