December 8, 2018 / 12:30 AM / 2 years ago

MLB notebook: Nationals owner not counting on Harper

If there were doubts about whether All-Star outfielder Bryce Harper would return to the Washington Nationals, team owner Mark Lerner on Friday didn’t give fans any reason to be optimistic.

FILE PHOTO: Washington Nationals base runner Bryce Harper sprints home to score against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of their day-night doubleheader during the eighth inning of their MLB National League baseball game in Washington September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

“I really don’t expect him to come back at this point,” Lerner said on 106.7 The Fan, making his first substantial comments on the matter. “I think they’ve (Harper and agent Scott Boras) decided to move on. There’s just too much money out there that he’d be leaving on the table. That’s just not Mr. Boras’ M.O. to leave money on the table.”

In September, Harper reportedly rejected a 10-year contract from the Nationals worth around $300 million.

“When we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ We went right to the finish line very quickly,” Lerner added. “And we said, ‘If this is of interest to you, please come back to us and we’ll see whether we can finish it up.’ But we just couldn’t afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the (National League) East or go farther than that.”

—The Nationals officially agreed to terms on a six-year, $140 million contract with All-Star left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin and unveiled him at a press conference.

“We’ve always said that starting pitching is the driver. As the top free agent pitcher on the market this offseason, we targeted Patrick from the onset,” Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo in a statement. “He was one of the top pitchers in the National League in 2018 and at 29 years old, we believe the best is yet to come. We are thrilled to bring him into our organization.”

Corbin went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA during an All-Star campaign for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. He set a career high for strikeouts with 246 and reached 200 innings for the second time in his career.

—Police in Venezuela arrested four people in connection with the deaths of former major leaguers Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo, who were killed in a car crash early Friday morning.

Yaracuy governor Julio Leon Heredia tweeted that police detained four people in possession of personal items belonging to the deceased players. The news adds to speculation that the players may actually have been victims of an intended robbery that led to their deaths.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Authorities said the players may have been the intended victims of criminals in Venezuela who throw rocks onto roadways to disable cars or cause crashes and then rob the vehicles’ occupants.”

—Field Level Media

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