Nationals OF Harper: ‘I love it here’

Bryce Harper’s journey into free agency has been a topic of conversation almost since he arrived in Washington in 2012 as a 19-year-old, it seems. And now that he is on the doorstep of becoming a free agent, he’s started to talk about it, too.

In an interview with the Washington Post published Tuesday, he said he would “absolutely love to be” in Washington beyond this season.

“I think about other cities, but I love it here,” Harper said.

Bryce Harper
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It’s long been speculated that a big-money, big-market franchise — New York Yankees? Los Angeles Dodgers? — would swoop in and sign Harper to a record major league contract, exceeding the $325 million pact signed by Giancarlo Stanton in 2014. But Harper, who turns 26 next month, said not so fast.

“When I talk about D.C., I get giddy. I get happy. Because it’s me. It’s what I know,” Harper said. “I don’t know anything else. I don’t know what it feels like to play for the Dodgers. I don’t know what it feels like to play for the Yankees. I don’t know what it feels like to play for anybody that you look at. I don’t know!”

The outfielder said he isn’t sure the Nationals are as sold on him as he is on them, though.

“Am I in the (Nationals’) plans, you know? I don’t know,” Harper said. “It’s hard to think about … It’s like, ‘Well, it could all be over in a second.’ It’s kind of crazy.

“I’ve always said, ‘If I’m in those plans, I’d absolutely love to be here.’ But if I’m not, there’s nothing I can do about it. There’s nothing I can do. I would love to play next to Victor Robles or Juan Soto or Adam Eaton. I’d love to. But am I in those plans? I have no idea.”

Harper is batting just .245 this season, but he has belted 34 home runs. He also has driven in 100 runs for the first time in his career. In his seven seasons with the Nationals, he has a lifetime .278 average and 184 career home runs. He’s a six-time All-Star who also won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2012 and the NL Most Valuable Player trophy in 2015.

–Field Level Media