As we all wait to see how or if the 2020 MLB season occurs today, Starting 9 released an interview with former Washington National right fielder Bryce Harper, during the interview, Harper spends a lot of time explaining his free agency during the offseason in 2018-2019. There is a lot to unpack in just the first couple of minutes of the interview he has. Harper shares that he traveled to Palm Springs two days before Christmas during the offseason to have a secret meeting with the Learners, and after the meeting, tells his agent Scott Boras to “get it done..”
One of the biggest surprises for many Nationals fans is going to be the confirmation from Harper that the Nationals had a handshake agreement with the Houston Astros during the trade deadline that would have sent him to Houston to finish the 2018 season.
Harper shares his thoughts on how the Nationals could have saved face in the trade with Houston and still have the possibility for a Harper return during the 2019 season. “I wish that they would have come up and talked to him about it because if they would have like guys… I will come out and say whatever you want the organization look good I don’t care … and if you try to sign me back next year… I will have no bad blood, no disrespect, you just made your organization better for the next whatever years and you possibility signed me back…”
“Babe, we’re going back. I am going back to D.C. If they offer me anything close to real money”
An interesting take away from this interview was how adamant Harper was that he wanted to come back to Washington and spend the rest of his career with one team and how that would have meant to him. “You look at all the best guys in the league in years past; they stay with their team their whole career, it’s like really cool, and you look at [Derek] Jeter … and you look at [Mike] Trout now … guys that stay with their team for their whole career it’s awesome.”
Another surprise from the interview, Harper shares a conversation he had with Scott Boras while in Las Vegas at the Aria Hotel after the Nationals signed Patrick Corbin. Harper said to Boras: “I promise you right now the [Nationals] are going to win the World Series. And I said they were always a pitcher away. They [Nationals] finally got that pitcher, and they used it perfectly during the playoffs.”
WOW! That is a lot to digest and not even sure where to start on this. I am not sure who to believe or if it matters at this point. Listen, I was disappointed that Harper didn’t come back to the Nationals. For the whole 2019 season, whenever Harper played against the Nationals, I didn’t include him in my lineup card in my scorebook.
This interview does shed some light on what went down during the offseason in 2018-2019, however, at the end of the day, and I think that he and the Nationals were just too far apart in what they wanted and headed in different directions to make a deal.
One interesting question that I thought of at the end of the interview is, why is Harper just now coming out and sharing this? Part of me wishes he would have shared this earlier, as I think that it would have changed a lot of what Nationals fans think, or at least I would have thought differently of him.