Bryce Harper Trade Rumors: Rivals See 'No Chance' of Nationals Dealing Star

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper takes a lead during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, July 22, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Although Bryce Harper is set to enter free agency after the season, the Washington Nationals reportedly have no interest in trading the superstar.

Jon Heyman of Fancred outlined several reasons why he won't be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver deadline:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Rivals believe there’s almost no chance nats will market/trade Bryce Harper in 28-hour window that exists. 1. They want to sign him long-term. 2. They are within striking distance of 2 young teams. 3. They have team mostly back together (except Strasburg).

The Nationals (52-53) entered Monday six games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in the National League East. They are also six games out of the second wild-card spot.

Despite the team's struggles to this point of the year, the Nationals clearly still believe they can contend for a playoff spot. While players like Adam Eaton, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy missed large stretches of time this season due to injuries, they have returned to the field for a second-half push.

Washington has won the division in four of the last six years but is yet to win a playoff series.

However, it makes sense to at least explore a trade for Harper, especially considering the Baltimore Orioles received five prospects in return for Manny Machado—another pending free agent—earlier this month.

Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported Sunday the outfielder was available in trade discussions, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs all interested.

Considering Harper is a six-time All-Star in seven major league seasons and a former NL MVP Award winner, the cost will be significant, even for a two-month rental. However, this could give one of those teams an advantage in re-signing him as a free agent this winter.

With Washington clearly interested in keeping him around next year and beyond, it seems unlikely the squad deals away its best asset.