Nationals make Harper available in trade talks

Bryce Harper has been an All-Star six times in his career thus far. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: The Washington Nationals have made six-time All-Star outfielder Bryce Harper available in trade talks ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, according to multiple reports on Monday evening.’s Mark Feinsand first reported the Nationals were letting other teams know Harper is available. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal confirmed the Nats are sending out “feelers” on Harper, but suggested that any deal appears to be a long shot.

“I’d be shocked if they do it,” a rival executive told Rosenthal. “They’re seeing if someone wants to go crazy.”

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported the Cleveland Indians have been in touch with the Nationals about Harper but have thus far refused to include 23-year-old starter Shane Bieber in an offer.

Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported earlier Monday that rival teams believed there was “almost no chance” Washington would market or trade Harper before the deadline. Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan also reported Monday that Harper has been asking friends and confidants if they think the Nationals might trade him.

Harper, 25, is set to hit free agency after the season and could command the largest contract in major league history. Washington is expected to try to sign Harper long-term, but he is expected to have many suitors.

The 2015 National League MVP has struggled to a .220 batting average this season, but his league-high 84 walks have contributed to a .369 on-base percentage. He also has 25 home runs and 62 RBIs. His career highs are 42 and 99, respectively, set in 2015.

The injury-plagued Nationals are 52-53, five and a half games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East, and six teams are ahead of them in the race for two wild-card playoff berths.