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The Nats Met With Bryce Harper For 5 (FIVE!) Hours Last Saturday

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Washington Post - According to a person with direct knowledge of Harper’s process, the 26-year-old and his agent, Scott Boras, met with Nationals owner Ted Lerner for five hours on the Saturday before Christmas. Asked to confirm that this meeting happened, multiple people with the club refused to do so, a departure from their relative openness about their status with Harper this winter. On the record and off it, club officials have been willing to discuss the Harper situation because it seemed relatively uncomplicated until now: They made their offer. They put forth a legitimate effort to sign him. And he didn’t take it.

But ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Wednesday that Harper has met with Nationals representatives “many times” this winter, news he attributed to “club sources.” Later in the day, club sources confirmed the meeting had taken place. Lerner, Harper and Boras did meet. The sides have had contact since the Winter Meetings.

So this will end as so many articles have before it: Until Harper signs elsewhere, you simply cannot rule out the Nationals. The door, it seems, remains open.

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What a turn of events!

First it was “Bryce wants to be a Yankee”. I was convinced for the last 2-3 years Bryce would do everything in his power to become a New York Yankee. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of all the Yankees greats and play out the prime of his career in pinstripes, become a Yankee legend himself. I was sure of it.

And then the Cubs came onto the scene. Last season all the rumors were he wanted to go to Chicago and play with Kris Bryant. They grew up together, their wives are best friends, the whole 9 yards. But then those rumors completely died down.

Because the Phillies entered the scene. The Phillies became front runners for Bryce this offseason. They have all the money and were going to pay whatever needed to be spent.

Until the Dodgers unloaded their entire outfield. It then became crystal clear that LA was where Bryce was going to sign. It looked like they had already agreed to a deal, and LA just had to clear up the cap space, dot some I’s and cross some T’s, and then they’d announce.

But yet, nothing.

So flash forward to the Saturday before Xmas, and Bryce, Boras, and the Nats met for FIVE hours. I don’t know what you talk about for 5 hours, but it’s confirmed it happened. Which means the Nats are still in the hunt. Which means LA isn’t confirmed, which means the Phillies price just got higher, which means the Yankees will need to ante up. That Lerners have all the money needed, they know Bryce inside and out, and they want him back.

It very well could be a negotiation tactic by Boras- make the Nats feel like they are still in the hunt just for optics, to make the Dodgers and Phillies panic to drive up the price. It’s all Game of Thrones when it comes down to it, and he could be playing the Nats like suckers. Or they very well might still be in the chase. That’s the beauty of Boras, you never know where you stand. He plays teams like puppets. It must be so aggravating to work with him but he certainly gets his players paid.

At this point, I still think he winds up in LA. From what I understand, all the teams don’t want to give him the huge 10 year deals. They are willing to load up for short deals and make him prove he’s worth the big one, and Boras is saying that’d be a mistake because after he proves it, he’ll be able to bounce elsewhere. A big game of chicken, who is willing to bet on whom. To be honest, I hope this drags out all winter, it’s fascinating to write about. But my bet right now is still LA…and that very well could change tomorrow.