But the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics also fit as teams that needed an outfielder and could pick up the rest of Harper's salary. No, this is about the Nationals becoming - without Harper - a better team.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox reports the Nationals have been "sending out feelers" on Harper to gauge possible interest from other teams.
Then, General Manager Mike Rizzo, who said he went sleepless Monday night, sent a text message to The Post.
Harper, the 2015 NL MVP, will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports that one Major League Baseball team heard that the Nationals had a Bryce Harper trade "lined up", but the ownership pulled the plug.
No one seems sure what Harper might earn in free agency after struggling to hit above.215 this season while his strikeout rates jumped to their highest point since 2014.
They have until 4 p.m.
If the Nationals do decide to become sellers at the deadline, their bounty of trade chips include Harper - plus relievers Kelvin Herrera and Ryan Madson, starter Gio Gonzalez, and infielder Daniel Murphy. "They're seeing if someone wants to go insane".