Bryce Harper recently spoke about his love for the Washington, D.C. and for the Nationals organization, plainly stating that he hopes to remain there beyond the 2018 season but also adding that he “[has] no idea” if he’s a part of the front office’s plans moving forward. General manager Mike Rizzo responded in candid fashion yesterday in talking with reporters (link via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). “Of course he’s in our plans,” said the GM. “He’s a part of our family. … Like I’ve always said, with these type of deals, you’re not betting on the baseball player; you’re betting on the person. He’s a person we’d like to have with us.” Rizzo, of course, didn’t make any definitive statements about the possibility of re-signing Harper. And as Janes points out, such a massive financial decision will ultimately be an ownership-level decision.
More on the Nats…
- In a second column, Janes speaks with Stephen Strasburg about the shoulder injury that sidelined him earlier this season and has resulted in a notable velocity drop since his return from the disabled list. Strasburg acknowledges that his stuff is diminished at present but adds that he’s optimistic about recovering his lost zip on his heater. “I think it’ll come back. 100 percent, just based on what the doctors said I’ve been dealing with,” said Strasburg. Still, the Nats need to determine how much they can count on from Strasburg next season, Janes writes, and the answer to that question will likely impact the team’s offseason maneuverings.
- As ever, the Nationals will have a fair bit of financial resources at their disposal this offseason, but with numerous holes around the roster, they’ll likely have to turn to the trade market as well, writes Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com. Rizzo addressed that need following yesterday’s game as well, voicing confidence that the Nats have the farm system to upgrade where necessary. “We have an extremely popular minor league system,” said Rizzo. “We certainly have players with trade value. But we’re going to attack this from every different angle: free agency, trades, internal options.” Rizzo added that he believes the 2018 season to be “an anomaly” and that the organization once again compete for a division title next season.