Report: Nationals Ownership Rejected Bryce Harper Trade to Astros

The Astros reportedly had a trade in place for Harper at the non-waiver deadline in July that Nationals’ owernship refused to approve. 

The Houston Astros reportedly had a deal in place for the Nationals’ Bryce Harper at the non-waiver deadline in July but Washington ownership nixed the deal, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Nationals would have received right-hander J.B. Bukauskas, the Astros’ No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com, and two other minor leaguers, in exchange for Harper. Catcher Garrett Stubbs, the team’s No. 15 prospect, was also reportedly in play, along with another, low-level, minor-league pitcher as well, per Rosenthal.

The Astros’ offer would have benefitted Washington significantly more than the late-round compensatory pick it will receive in the 2019 draft, assuming Harper turns down the team’s qualifying offer on Monday and signs with another club.

Harper already rejected an “aggressive” 10-year, $300 million contract offer by the Nationals in late September, opting instead to enter the free-agent market. 

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While the Nationals finished 82-80, eight games behind the Braves in the NL East, the Astros still finished 103-59 for their second straight AL West title without Harper, advancing to the ALCS where they fell to the eventual World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox.

Washington was granted a second opportunity to move Harper when the Dodgers claimed him on waivers in August. Los Angeles reportedly offered to trade outfielder Yasiel Puig to the Nationals for their six-time All-Star, but the two teams couldn’t come to terms.

Once the Astros Harper deal fell through, Houston reportedly put together another potential trade package that would have sent right-hander Francis Martes to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Avisaíl García, per Rosenthal. That deal also failed to come to fruition after the Astros expressed “concern over the condition of García’s right knee.”