There may be some fireworks at the MLB trade deadline after all. The Washington Nationals are reportedly listening to offers for superstar outfielder Bryce Harper, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
According to a source, the Nationals are making it known to other teams that Bryce Harper is indeed available.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 31, 2018
The Washington Post's Chelsea Janes also reported on Monday that the "sense from people around the team" was that Washngton had not ruled out trading him, but there were still questions surrounding his availability:
What no one seemed willing to clarify was whether the Nationals were simply doing their due diligence by listening to offers or actively soliciting them. The gap between picking up the phone and actively negotiating is wide, and no one with the team gave any indication of whether they had bridged it.
Harper, 25, can become a free agent at the end of the season. He is slashing .220/.369/.473 with 25 home runs and 62 RBI. The Nationals are currently 5 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East, as well as 6 games back of the Wild Card.
The San Francisco Giants are believed to be interested in pursuing Harper once he reaches free agency. The Giants pursued slugger Giancarlo Stanton and two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani during the offseason, and traded Austin Jackson and Cody Gearrin earlier this month in order to get below the competitive balance tax (CBT) line and preserve flexibility for this upcoming winter.
The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31 at 1 p.m. PT.