Washington Nationals: Why They Should Trade Harper For Stanton

With the news that the Washington Nationals do not like the direction Bryce Harper‘s contract negotiations are going, should they pull off a mega blockbuster deal with Miami?

With the Winter Meetings in full swing, the Washington Nationals have been right in the middle of the MLB rumor mill. With talks of them to acquire Andrew McCutchen and Chris Sale, as well as looking for a long term closer, the Nats have been at the forefront of many talks; however, could their plans take a detour with a development on Bryce Harper‘s free agency?

According to Bob Nightendale of USA Today, the Washington Nationals are ready to move on from Bryce Harper when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season:

The article goes on to say how Harper is demanding a ten year, $400 million  deal, which would be the biggest deal in MLB history. Should this come as a huge surprise? No it shouldn’t. Throughout the past few years it has been speculated that Harper was in search of a mega deal, such as this one. While they say they want to go all out to win the World Series in the remaining two years of his deal, the Nationals would be wise to trade him.

The thought of trading Harper sounds crazy at first thought, but in reality it makes sense. First off, Harper is coming off arguably the worst year of his career, and who’s to say that he doesn’t struggle again next year? Also, while he did struggle at times last season, his value will never be higher than it is now.

Did Harper have a bad year considering his elite standards? Yes, but he’s still one of the biggest names in all of baseball. He is still considered one of the best players in the game, as well as the face of the organization, which means he will definitely have value in a potential trade.

However, the achilles heal of any Harper trade is the fact that he only has two years remaining on his deal. If you’re acquiring him, you’re only getting him for two years, and you run the risk of losing him in 2018. However, one team who just may be willing to do such a deal could be the rival Marlins.

The Marlins are a team stuck in the middle of the pack; they’re not great, but they’re not terrible. Their star player, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has been in and out of the lineup throughout his entire career, but he has been one of the most dangerous hitters in all of baseball, regardless of the injury history. Could a Harper for Stanton deal benefit both of these NL East teams?

First off, if the Washington Nationals were to deal Harper, they would need to get a player or two back to help them remain relevant now, not prospects. The Nats have a window to win now, and trading Harper would in a way, diminish their chances, so they’d have to get back players who could help them win now.

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Stanton would do that. He, like Harper, is classified as one of the game’s best outfielders, and he would without a doubt give the Nationals an overwhelming presence in the middle of the order. But, why would Miami do that deal?

Just two years ago, Stanton signed the biggest deal in MLB history, agreeing to a $325 million extension. His struggle to remain on the field may make Miami willing to get his mega deal off the books, and take back Harper, but the question would likely be why the Nationals do such a deal? Why would they take in a guy who would blow up what already is a massive payroll?

The reason is that they need to make sure they don’t lose Harper for nothing. Stanton gives Washington a player on the same level as Harper, in terms of stardom, and he’d help keep them a title contender. Also, the big chunk of Stanton’s deal doesn’t begin for another year, so the Nats could still go all out and try to get Chris Sale and even Andrew McCutchen. That team would still be high competitive, and could challenge the Cubs for the National league pennant in the years to come.

Could this story about Bryce Harper be misreported? Absolutely, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Nats should look into dealing him, especially if they can get a player like Stanton. If the Nats are given any hints, or reason to believe he may leave come his 2018 free agency, the Washington Nationals should trade Bryce Harper.

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