How will Bryce Harper’s struggles affect free agency?

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Chris Myers, Dontrelle Willis, and Ken Rosenthal discuss how Bryce Harpers struggles could affect his upcoming free agency.

- Does it indicate anything as he continues to struggle about his chances maybe of resigning with the Nationals, who are hitting that free agent market, and going elsewhere?

- First off, Chris, I don't expect him to struggle like this all season. He's too talented, he's too good. However, if he ends the year batting, I don't know, 230 and his OPS is in the 830, 850 range, it's not the typical Bryce Harper year, I would think it enhances the National's chances of keeping him. Maybe he takes a short deal to go back on the market again in a couple of years. This is all speculation. I expect Bryce Harper is getting a long deal, and a big deal. But dynamics do change when a hitter does not do what we expect him to do.

- It's been a long time that he's been struggling. He looks bad at the plate. And now, we're lowering the standards that he's hitting 240, and he's quote, unquote, "getting better at the plate." When you want somebody to be a long term guy and a focal point around the offense, you're going to give him a ton of money, he needs to hit a lot better than 250, 260. He needs to be the MVP type that we all love and see him play.

But he's humbled himself the last couple of days, starting to get some early work, starting to get some better at bats. So hopefully, he's able to climb his batting average, up because he needs to be the focal point for the offense to take all the pressure off the rest of the guys.

- Right now, hitting a career low 218 for Harper. The Nationals, they made the deal for Herrera. We've seen this before. They seem like they're in dire straits. I know we're just hitting the All-Star break, we expect Harper to bounce back. Do you expect the Nationals to bounce back?

- I'm not sure. They're not unlike the Cubs in terms of their starting rotation. They've got one reliable guy. For the Cubs, just mentioned, it was Lester. For the Nationals, it's Scherzer. Everybody else, is either hurt, Strasburg and Fedde, or struggling, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark.

So while we've all talked a lot about their ability to trade for Wilson Ramos of the Rays to help their catching situation, what they need most is a starting pitcher, and maybe multiple starting pitchers.

They've struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark. They're one of the worst at giving up home runs. That's very unlike, especially this rotation. They're a very talented, very experienced rotation. They need to pitch better. But with the offensive struggling of Bryce Harper, I think that's been a cancer in the locker room, and it's put pressure on everybody else. Everybody's trying to hard on the mound, they're trying too hard on the field. They've been hurt. So this has been a tough go, a tough year.

And you're seeing within the division, that the Phillies are better. They're younger, they're more hungry, and the Braves are the same way. So this is going to be tough for them to make up [INAUDIBLE].

- And just saying, a pretty good manager was let go by the Nationals, Dusty Baker. I'm not knocking Dave Martinez, but he's had his rookie struggles.

- Tell the truth.

- And where is Dusty? Dusty did a very good job. They run through managers like few teams do.

- I've never seen anything like that, especially a team that contends go to the playoffs. They ran through a couple of managers. It's not the manager's fault, it's the people in the locker room that need to be accountable.