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Nationals GM declines to completely dismiss Bryce Harper trade talk

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo on Wednesday addressed whether or not the team would ever consider trading Bryce Harper. Despite being provided an opportunity to do so, Rizzo declined to completely dismiss the possibility.

The Nationals face some incredibly tough decisions with the non-waiver trade deadline looming on July 31. A total of 14 players on the roster are set to hit free agency after the season, with Harper of course being the biggest name.

The question facing Rizzo is what would it take for the Nationals to actually deal Harper. The Nats general manager detailed such a potential scenario during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan.

“A lot of things go into that question,” Rizzo said, via NBC Sports Washington. “That’s a question that is tough to answer. It’d have to be something spectacular, a set of circumstances for us to do that.

“But like I said before, we’re going to do what we have to do to better this team for 2018 and beyond. Harp[er]’s one of the superstars of the game, and he’s a guy that’s near and dear to my heart personally and is in Washington, D.C., and one of the great players in the game.”

Things obviously have not played out as expected for the Nationals this season. The team sits at a disappointing 49-51, a full seven games back of the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies and face a six-game deficit in the National League Wild Card standings.

Harper has struggled enormously as well this season, slashing at a .215/.364/.469 clip although the slugger has put up 24 home runs and 56 RBI.

That said, Harper nevertheless will be a highly sought-after commodity in free agency and there will be no shortage of suitors, including the Nationals, willing to pay an obscene amount of money to secure his services.

Rizzo obviously understands how trading Harper would be viewed, not to mention the lasting impact such a move would have on the organization, one way or the other. The Nationals general manager merely is pointing out that prying Harper way from the team would require an offer he could not refuse.