Bryce Harper could be on the move on Tuesday's trade deadline.
Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Nationals are making it known to other teams that Bryce Harper is available.
The team last linked to Harper-trade rumors was the Clevland Indians. Harper, who is tied for second in the National League in home runs (25), would give them an edge as they look to capture their third consecutive American League Central title.
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
Harper would be a clear upgrade in the outfield, as the Indians seem to lack power in all three positions. Harper's ability to play all three outfield positions will also give the Indians an added flexibility.
Another team that could be of interest is the Phillies, who lost out on the Manny Machado sweepstakes earlier this month. Yet, this seems like a very long shot since the Nats will likely not want to trade Harper within their own division (needless to say you can't fully rule it out).
If any team does take chance at landing Harper, it will come at a price. You can expect this trade to mirror the Machado deal, where the Nationals will receive five prospects in return for Harper - a two-month rental.
The Nationals, if they do decide to trade Harper, will be targeting starting pitching in this trade. They already have outfield prospects like Juan Santo and Victor Robles to replace Harper's power in the outfield. The secret for the Nationals is to replenish their pitching - both starting and relief.
The Phillies — who lead the Nats by 5.5 games in the NL East — have thrived this season on lights-out starting pitching. The Nationals have had to deal with the injury to Stephen Strasburg and could potentially lose Gio Gonzalez and Jeremy Hellickson to free agency this winter.
This is going to be one of those trades that could go down to the wire, but it is certainly plausible for a team like the Indians to swoop in and nab Harper for a deep playoff run and chance to handle some unfinished business in the postseason - remember the Indians were so close to capturing their first title in 47 years but fell to the Chicago Cubs in seven games during the 2016 World Series.
The MLB trade deadline ends on Tuesday at 4 p.m. EST.