"Bryce is not going anywhere", it read.
With the postseason unlikely, it appears the Nationals have made a decision to trade Harper, who becomes a free agent after the season. Feinsand says Harper is owed around $7 million for the remainder of the season.
"At least one team in touch with the Nationals heard the club had deals "lined up" for multiple players, including Bryce Harper, but got the sense ownership pulled the plug late last night", he reports.
In other words, it may not be that the front office "believe [s] in this team", it may instead be that ownership stepped in and forced their hand.
Harper is hitting.220 with 62 RBIs this season. And trading him now would basically eliminate that possibility. The rest of the Nationals roster hasn't fared much better.
And therein lies another awkward part of all this, that while the Nationals did not want anyone to know they would be listening on Harper, they can not deny it now.
Put simply, players of Harper's caliber simply don't change teams at the deadline very often. The Nationals are struggling just to stay in the playoff hunt at 52-53, 5 1/2 games back in both the NL East and the wild card.