Nats ap­pear re­signed to los­ing Harper

Houston Chronicle - - FOR THE RECORD -

WASH­ING­TON — As with most things in­volv­ing the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als’ off­sea­son, a day that was sup­posed to be all about in­tro­duc­ing Pa­trick Corbin mor­phed into a day about Bryce Harper.

Wash­ing­ton an­nounced its six-year con­tract with Corbin, a deal worth $140 mil­lion, and the All-Star left­handed starter donned a No. 46 Na­tion­als jersey as ro­ta­tion-mates Max Scherzer and Stephen Stras­burg looked on from the front row Fri­day. Af­ter the news con­fer­ence, gen­eral man­ager Mike

Rizzo was asked a key ques­tion:

How might the big bucks he used to out­bid the New York Yan­kees and Philadel­phia Phillies for Corbin af­fect the pur­suit of Wash­ing­ton’s own big-deal free agent right fielder Harper?

“I think they’re in­de­pen­dent of each other. I re­ally do. We’ve gone about this busi­ness of cre­at­ing a roster for 2019, and at the end of the day, we’ll fig­ure out whether that in­cludes ‘Harp’ or not,” Rizzo said.

But in an in­ter­view with WJFK-FM, Na­tion­als owner

Mark Lerner painted a dif­fer­ent pic­ture about where things stand with Harper, who didn’t ac­cept a late-sea­son of­fer from Wash­ing­ton.

“I re­ally don’t ex­pect him to come back at this point,” Lerner said. “I think they’ve de­cided to move on. There’s just too much money out there that he’d be leav­ing on the ta­ble.”

Lerner also de­scribed the team’s ear­lier of­fer to the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 NL MVP, re­port­edly for $300 mil­lion over 10 years, as “the best we can do.”

In other pro base­ball news:

• Free-agent pitcher

Gar­rett Richards and the San Diego Padres fi­nal­ized a two-year, $15.5 mil­lion con­tract. Richards was 5-4 with a 3.66 ERA last sea­son for the Los An­ge­les An­gels be­fore re­con­struc­tive surgery in July. • Righthander Mer­rill

Kelly agreed to a two-year, $5.5 mil­lion con­tract with the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs. Kelly, 30, spent the last four sea­sons with SK Wyverns in South Korea. He was 48-32 with a 3.86 ERA, in­clud­ing 16-7 in 2017.

Mar­cio Jose Sanchez / As­so­ci­ated Press

Alex Mor­gan was named U.S. Soc­cer’s Player of the Year for the sec­ond time af­ter lead­ing the na­tional team with 18 goals in 19 matches.

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