As the Nationals equipment truck rolls south to Spring Training, still no answer on Bryce Harper


Monday delivered an unofficial baseball holiday: Truck Day. The Nationals finished loading their spring training equipment into a 70-foot tractor-trailer and sent it to start a 1,000-mile journey down I-95 to their West Palm Beach spring training home.

And yet, Bryce Harper’s situation remains unresolved. He’s made it all the way into February without a new home, which prompted a special Nationals beat writers edition of the Racing Presidents podcast. Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post and Jamal Collier of joined NBC Sports Washington's Nationals insider, Todd Dybas, to discuss just why this has taken so long with Harper, plus a slew of other Nationals topics.

Pitchers and catchers report February 13. General managers and managers have to be wondering what they will have going forward. Of course, a simple solution for them if their owner suddenly decides Harper or Manny Machado are worth it is to replace whomever needs to be removed to fit the young stars in. That’s one of the few points surrounding this pursuit that everyone seems to agree on.

Another is how the Harper-Machado free agency period has declined from something expected to be filled with fireworks to a slog in danger of inducing apathy. The eventual jolt from the signing should wash away the bad taste from the tease-filled wait. However, it won’t clear the ideas formed during it, namely that MLB owners are proactively suppressing player salaries and that baseball at-large has yet another issue to deal with in the modern media landscape.

Beyond Harper, the Nationals have a specific concern still in front of them: lack of pitching depth. Dallas Keuchel remains on the market. Closer Craig Kimbrel remains unsigned. Big names are out there wondering when a spring training answer will come. Some team will end up with a steal. Can the quiet market provide the Nationals one more weapon?

The guys get into all of that. Take a listen.


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