Mark Lerner: Don’t expect Bryce Harper to return to Washington Nationals

bryce harperWashington Nationals owner Mark Lerner told a D.C. radio station on Friday that he doesn’t expect star slugger Bryce Harper to return in 2019.

“I really don’t expect him to come back at this point,” Lerner told WFAN-106.7FM. “I think they’ve decided to move on. There’s just too much money out there that he’d be leaving on the table. That’s just not Mr. Boras’ M.O. to leave money on the table.”

The Nats reportedly offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million deal late in the 2018 season, but Harper rejected the deal so that he could test the free-agent waters.

The thinking was that the Nationals still had a better-than-even chance to retain Harper, but the team has been active around whatever he decides to do in the meantime.

This week, the team signed free-agent pitcher Patrick Corbin to a six-year, $140 million contract, adding the former Arizona Diamondbacks lefty to a starting rotation that includes three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and former No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg.

The Nats also added former Cleveland Indians All-Star catcher Yan Gomes and former St. Louis Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

Lerner is leaving the door open for a Harper return, but only slightly.

“When we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ We went right to the finish line very quickly,” Lerner said today. “And we said, ‘If this is of interest to you, please come back to us, and we’ll see whether we can finish it up.’ But we just couldn’t afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that.”

Story by Chris Graham

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