Nationals could add to Phillies rivalry with Kris Bryant
By Matt Rappa
The Nationals acquiring Kris Bryant would sting for Phillies OF Bryce Harper.
There is no doubt that Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper wants his friend, catcher J.T. Realmuto, to be re-signed and return for a third season in red pinstripes. And, although he has not said it publicly, he probably would not mind becoming teammates with another friend — fellow Las Vegas native Kris Bryant, currently a third baseman for the Chicago Cubs.
The likelihood of both Realmuto and Bryant playing for the Phillies in 2021 is slim to none. The odds are favorable, however, for one or both to play for another team in the National League East, particularly Harper’s former team in the Washington Nationals.
According to a recent report, the Cubs are believed to move several players this offseason, and Bryant is among the names being frequently mentioned. Late last week, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported that the Nationals are considering a trade for Bryant. The 2019 World Series champions are also believed to be in the market for a catcher, rather than give Yan Gomes the No. 1 spot; hence, the potential interest in Realmuto.
NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes does not think a Nationals trade for Bryant will ultimately come to fruition because they lack trade assets. But, he said he would like to see the trade happen, as it would be a “huge slap in the face to [Harper].”
“We all know Harper has dreamed of playing in the majors with Bryant, his childhood friend,” Hughes recently said on a NBC Sports Washington broadcast. “If the Nationals got him, it would only add to their rivalry with the Phillies.”
The Phillies were reportedly interested in acquiring the three-time All-Star, 2016 MVP and World Series champion last offseason; but, now with Alec Bohm and Rhys Hoskins penned in as the corner infielders of the future, there is less of a desire to address those positions over other areas of need.
A deal for Bryant likely would have included Bohm; as of now, the Phillies made the right decision to not part ways with the 2020 Rookie of the Year finalist. Bryant slashed just .206/.293/.351 across 147 plate appearances this past season, whereas Bohm slashed .338/.400/.481 spanning 180 plate appearances.
Bryant and Harper are both represented by well-known agent Scott Boras.