Indians check in on availability of Bryce Harper

July 30th, 2018

The Indians and Nationals have communicated recently regarding a possible trade, sources told MLB.com on Monday, but the discussions have yet to gather momentum.

Even as the Nationals began play Monday with a six-game deficit in both the National League East and the NL Wild Card race, the price tag on Harper remains high, the sources said.

In any deal for Harper, the Nationals likely would ask for multiple pitchers to help rebuild a rotation that includes pending free agents and . And it's difficult to imagine the Indians trading right-handers Triston McKenzie and Shane Bieber -- their No. 1 and No. 2 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline -- for a rental player.

Harper, 25, is tied for second in the NL with 25 home runs, but his .842 OPS is below his career average of .895.

Still, even Harper's less-than-usual production would be an improvement over the .723 OPS Cleveland's right fielders (, , , , and ) have posted this year.

Sources say the Nationals will listen to offers for their pending free-agent relievers: , and . However, the Nats are not ready to begin a rebuild and therefore have continued their longstanding efforts to acquire catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins. Realmuto is not due to become a free agent until after the 2020 season.