Corbin nets $140 mil­lion deal; Harper may be out

The Denver Post - - SPORTS | OFF & RUNNING - By Howard Fen­drick

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 lefty starter donned a No. 46 Na­tion­als jersey as ro­ta­tion­mates 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. “We thought it was good busi­ness — we had to fix the things we needed to fix. ‘Harp’ is a big part of our fam­ily, and we’d love to have him back.”

But in an in­ter­view Fri­day with ra­dio sta­tion 106.7 The Fan, Na­tion­als owner Mark Lerner painted a dif­fer­ent pic­ture.

“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.”

The Harper is­sue hangs over all of base­ball as the Win­ter Meet­ings are set to be­gin Mon­day in Las Ve­gas, but it’s not as though the Na­tion­als have been wait­ing around. Rizzo’s moves early in the off­sea­son in­clude adding two catch­ers — one, Yan Gomes, at­tended Corbin’s news con­fer­ence, as did first base­man Ryan Zim­mer­man — and two late-in­ning re­liev­ers, in ad­di­tion to Corbin, a two-time NL Al­lS­tar who was 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA for the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs in 2018.

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