Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper may have to find a new home soon. The soon-to-be free-agent played in what could be his final game as a member of the Nationals on Sunday. Realizing that could be the case, the 25-year-old Harper got a little emotional during his postgame interview following the team’s 12-0 loss.
About halfway through his interview with MASN reporter Dan Kolko, Harper started to fight back tears. His voice wavered during a question, causing Harper to admit he was “getting a little emotional right now.”
To the fans: “I can’t thank them enough. I love D.C. That’s what it’s all about.”
— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) September 30, 2018
Later in the conversation, Harper admitted he’s not sure whether he’ll return to Washington.
“If I’m back, I would love to be,” he says. “And if I’m not, then we’ll see what happens.”
Harper ended the interview by thanking the Nationals fans for cheering him on over the past couple years. That’s been a major talking point for Harper throughout the season. He made a point to show D.C. plenty of love during his Home Run Derby performance. He was constantly telling the hometown fans how much he appreciated them the entire night. The whole event felt like a sendoff for Harper.
It might not end up that way. Harper is now on the record saying he would love to stay with the Nationals. While they may not be considered the favorite to sign him once free agency begins, they’ll be in the conversation.
Rizzo on Harper: "I think he's aware not only of my interest in him, his career and his life, but also ownership's and the organization's."
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 30, 2018
Harper’s free agency has been a talking point for years now. For a while, there was talk his deal could exceed $400 million. That might be tough considering Harper’s numbers dropped off in 2018. He hit .247/.392/.493, with 34 home runs, over 691 plate appearances.
As Harper said in his interview with Kolko, it was a tale of two halves for the slugger. During the first half of the season, Harper hit just .214/.365/.468. In the second half, he rebounded to hit .297/.433/.530.
Despite the first-half struggles, Harper will be a desirable free agent. The Nationals may try hard to bring him back, but they’ll have plenty of competition for a 25-year-old who already has an MVP award under his belt.
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