It looks like the possibility of free-agent superstar Bryce Harper returning to the Washington Nationals could be over.
Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner spoke to 106.7 the Fan Friday, addressing the chances of Harper and his agent Scott Boras working out a deal with the club.
"If he comes back, it's a strong possibility that we won't be able to make it work," Lerner said. "But I really don't expect him to come back at this point. I think they've 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' MO to leave money on the table."
Harper reportedly rejected a 10-year, $300 million deal the club offered him on the final day of the season.
"We told them, 'This is the best we can do.' We went right to the finish line very quickly," Lerner said of the offer. "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 NL East or go farther than that."
Harper and shortstop Manny Machado are expected to sign two of the most lucrative contracts in free agency this winter. It has been speculated that Boras will ask for a deal valued around $400 million for Harper. No position player has ever received a deal worth more than $27.5 million average annual value.
While the Nationals have yet to secure Harper's return, they acquired one of the most sought after free-agent pitchers when signing Patrick Corbin to a six-year deal this week.
Harper has played all seven seasons of his major league career with the Nationals, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft.