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Harper bounces back after costly error

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Harper bounces back after costly error

It ended up being Bryce Harpers best game so far as a major league player, but it didnt begin that way.

With zero outs in the second inning, Baltimores Wilson Betemit hit a long fly ball to left field off Stephen Strasburg. Harper, playing in center, tracked it down in left fielder Tyler Moores range and called him off. A little wind and perhaps some sun got in the way and Harper missed the ball with his glove by about an inch. Betemit reached second to lead off a two-run inning that left the Nats down 3-0 after two.

I probably should have let Tyler take it, but I thought I had a good beat on it, Harper said.

The wind took it a little bit. It got me, but I should have caught it and I take full responsibility for that.

Manager Davey Johnson said afterwards he considered it a physical error, that he would have been more upset of Harper made a poor mental play. Johnson didnt necessarily agree with Harper calling off Moore, but wasnt entirely bothered by the move.

Bryce got a little over aggressive, Tyler Moore was actually under it and the wind was blowing the ball away from Harper, Johnson said.

I dont know if he took his eye off the ball a little bit to avoid Tyler, but I heard him yell all the way from in the dugout.

Harper rebounded just an inning later and redeemed himself with the team and specifically Strasburg in a big way. After the Nationals ace led off the third inning with a single off Wei-Yin Chen, Danny Espinosa moved him to third with a double.

Harper then took a high breaking ball inside and pulled it to right field, just out of Nick Markakis range. Markakis got his glove on the ball but lost it as his knee hit the field on the way down. Both runners scored as Harper stopped safely at third for his second triple of the season.

I was trying to get a pitch up, he was throwing a lot of off-speed stuff. He left the pitch up that I could drive a little bit and Markakis made a great play, Harper said.

Luckily for us, he dropped it. To be able to get something going I think was pretty huge.

The score sparked a three-run inning and an overall 180 degree turnaround for the Nationals. Washington scored two runs the next inning, another in the fifth, and cruised to a 9-3 victory over the Orioles in front of 41,918 at Nationals Park.

Harper ended the day with three runs scored, two RBI, and a walk; a well-rounded game for MLBs youngest player. On this day he showed not even a costly mistake can throw him off and prevent him from making a positive impact on a game.

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Bryce Harper's contract demand reportedly forcing Nationals to move on after 2018

Bryce Harper's contract demand reportedly forcing Nationals to move on after 2018

It is no secret that Bryce Harper's next contract could very well be the largest contract in baseball history.

The 2015 N.L. MVP has reprotedly been looking for something in the realm of 10 years, $400 million.

The Nationals would love to keep the cornerstone of their franchise, but with Harper garnering such a monumental price tag, the team may have no other choice but to move on when his contract expires in 2018.

With the MLB winter meetings taking place at the National Harbor in Oxen Hill, Md. this week, talks of Harper's contract situation have arisen again, and according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the news might not be good for Nationals fans. 

The Washington Nationals, balking at Bryce Harper’s demands in early talks about a long-term contract extension, now are preparing themselves to be without their All-Star outfielder after 2018, a high-ranking Nationals executive told USA TODAY Sports.

The executive spoke to USA TODAY Sports on Monday only on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations.

Agent Scott Boras says the only active negotiations of late have involved a one-year deal in 2017. Harper, who made $5 million last season, is eligible for salary arbitration.

RELATED: NATIONALS DECLINE TO TENDER CONTRACT ON SPEEDY OUTFIELDER

Harper is one of Major League Baseball's top stars but with the Nationals already investing $84.7 million in 2019 salaries to Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman, the money just might not be there for the Nationals to spend. 

The Nationals, who had begun preliminary negotiations this year to retain Harper beyond 2018, believe the chasm in their talks now have become too great to overcome. While no specific dollar amount has been broached by high-powered agent Scott Boras, the executive says Harper is seeking a deal more than 10 years in length, believing it would exceed $400 million.

The Nationals' reported mood toward moving on from Harper after 2018 could explain why the Nationals are aggressively pursuing former N.L. MVP Andrew McCutchen and former A.L. Cy Young award winner Chris Sale. 

In the grand scheme, not much has changed. Harper was always expected to command the largest cotnract on the market. But the latest news shines a light on the possible direction of the Nationals' front office. 

2018 is still a long ways away, but this could be an early sign of things to come, one Nationals fans have been hoping they would never have to see. 

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New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

New York Daily News puts Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in Yankees uniforms

You can always count on the New York Daily News to run an audacious cover. The tabloid delivered again Friday with an image edited to show two of the league's best young hitters in Yankees pinstripes: Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Orioles short stop Manny Machado. 

"Bats to the Future" is exactly the headline you'd expect, too.  

It's hard to tell what's more odious to Washington and Baltimore fans: the image itself or the suggestion that baseball's new collective bargaining agreement makes it easier for the Yankees to poach their stars. 

The premise of that argument comes from sources who say the new CBA contains two changes beneficial to New York: reduced revenue sharing burden (due to tweaks in how sharing is calculated, plus a deduction for the cost of building and running Yankee Stadium) and an increased luxury tax threshold. 

Without going into number crunching detail, the Daily News explains how the club could afford Harper and/or Machado when they become free agents after the 2018 season. 

The article's tone of inevitability, despite its many assumptions, will rankle fans of all 29 other teams. After all, the Yankees aren't the only franchise interested in Harper and Machado. 

The Nationals and Orioles will presumably try to keep their stars. But to do that, they may have to fend off potentially historic money from the Bronx. 

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