Mark Lerner: Bryce Harper, Scott Boras Haven't Contacted Nationals in Months

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2019

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper comes in from the outfield to the dugout during the middle of the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Washington. The Nationals won 6-0.(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

As Bryce Harper remains unsigned with spring training camps starting to heat up, it appears as though a reunion with the Washington Nationals is unlikely.

Nationals owner Mark Lerner revealed to NBC Sports Washington's Lisa Redmond on Friday that the team has "moved on" and it has not heard from the prized free agent or his representative Scott Boras in "months":

"Nothing's certainly changed on our end. We've moved on. As I said back then and we had to. There was no way we could wait around. Bryce, I'm sure will make his decision hopefully in the next few days, but we've filled out our roster and like I said, we wish him nothing but the best.

"But there's always that, the door's cracked a little bit. I have no clue at this point what they're up to. We really haven't heard from them in a couple months."

Back in November, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reported the Nationals had offered the 2015 National League MVP a 10-year, $300 million contract, a deal that did not include any opt-outs.

The Athletic's Jim Bowden later noted in January that the team's most recent offer was "much more than the $300 million being reported by the media."

That increased offer apparently wasn't enough to get a deal done, though. At least not yet.

Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 home runs, 34 doubles and 100 RBI in 2018, using a strong second half (.300 average post-All-Star break) to finish his walk year on a high note. 

And with Washington playing host to the 2018 MLB All-Star festivities, Harper put on a show for the hometown crowd on his way to the Home Run Derby title:

That was just the latest feat achieved by the Nationals star. Along with an MVP award and a Derby title, Harper already has accumulated six All-Star selections, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year award and a 2015 NL Silver Slugger. 

That's quite the resume, especially for someone who is only 26 years old.

The Harper sweepstakes are expected to heat up now that Manny Machado is off the market. Machado's record-breaking contract with the San Diego Padres became official on Thursday. The 10-year, $300 million pact is the largest free-agent deal in North American sports history.

In other words, Harper and Boras now know the number to beat.

The Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox are all among the teams to show interest in Harper this offseason.

Jon Heyman of Fancred reported on Thursday that San Diego remains in the mix even after signing Machado, while USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted that the White Sox have dropped out.

According to Heyman, Harper is believed to have turned down "multiple offers over $300 million" in recent weeks.

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