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The Washington Nationals have been wearing their frustrations on their sleeves throughout this difficult and disappointing season. Never was it more apparent than Saturday night, when after suffering another devastating loss — this time 2-1 to a Miami Marlins that’s 16 games under .500 — superstar outfielder and free agent-to-be Bryce Harper let loose with an apparent criticism of the team’s front office.
The game-winning hit was delivered by Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. If you’ve been following the MLB trade rumor mill even somewhat casually, you’ll probably recognize Realmuto as a name frequently connected to the Nationals as a potential upgrade at catcher.
Well, in Harper’s opinion, Realmuto should already be with the Nationals. Because if he was wearing the Nationals uniform Saturday night, he would have not been responsible for beating them.
Bryce Harper on J.T. Realmuto’s walk-off single: “If that guy was on our side, that wouldn’t have happened.”
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) July 29, 2018
He’s not wrong, either.
The comment is clearly frustration driven, but it doesn’t just stem from one loss either. It’s the build up of a now 52-52 season, which puts Washington five games out of first place in the division entering play on Sunday. The season is not yet a lost cause by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a troubling predicament for a team many pegged to win the NL East. Heck, some even thought they would finally make the World Series under new manager Davey Martinez.
They’re nowhere close to that level right now. As a result, they’ve officially reached the most critical point in their season. With a little more than 48 hours left before the non-waiver trade deadline, they have to figure out if they’re buying all the way in or perhaps even selling.
Based on Saturday’s loss, there’s not a lot of room left for optimism.
Based on Harper’s comments, he may have already lost faith in the front office’s ability or willingness to help out.
Even if the Nationals don’t buy or sell in the next two day, there’s still time for them to put all of the drama and disappointment behind them. But the way this season is trending, they seem destined to fall short again. Only this time, it could be compounded by an unhappy Harper’s exit in free agency.
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