Was Bryce Harper a Bust in D.C.?

Nationals fans, Bryce Harper is not coming back. To make it all worse, he went to the Philadelphia Phillies. So now it is time to discuss what Harper was for us. In my opinion, I would call him an “organizational bust.”

An organizational bust is someone who, despite performing well, really didn’t do what they were brought in to do. Harper was supposed to be the face of the franchise, and he was. He was the guy that we structured our entire team around. He was supposed to be the crux of the team that brought championship banners back to the nation’s capital. But that didn’t happen.

Now, this should be prefaced by saying nothing but the best is wished for Harper (except when he plays the Nats, then he can suck). He did a lot of good for the Nationals and he was always fun to watch. However, he was a bust. The Nationals, since bringing him up in 2012 have been a win-now team, or at least a strong contender. Seven years of contention and nothing to show for it. We won the NL East a few times? That’s cool, but what did that do for us in the long run? Everybody would rather win the World Series or at the NL instead of having a great regular season before getting knocked out in the first round of playoffs. Bryce was supposed to be the young talent that we could build around and create a championship team. But it was to no avail.

His Rookie of the Year season (2012) was outstanding; .270 with 22 long balls. He was an electric player who showed his value and made other teams fear facing him. His MVP year was the same story; .330 with 42 dingers. He was a force to be reckoned with and showed it. But then he follows that year with hitting below .250? You can’t build around that. That stat line should take him out of being the first name on the lineup card. He is too streaky of a player to build a team around and we found that out the hard way.

When dealing with a young phenom like Harper was, you need to be 150% sure this is THE guy. You can’t bet the farm on a guy who comes out and has a few good years but doesn’t help you win anything. We did, we lost, and now we lost him. Harper was pretty good for us, but the goal of every team (minus the rebuilding teams who are trying to get to this point) is to win. Not just regular season games, but championships. Now, had we gotten out of the first round of playoffs once, that changes the narrative. Harper might not have been an organizational bust. But we didn’t. We made the NLDS 4 times (2012, 2014, 2016, 2017) and lost every time. With Harper, we should’ve been pushed past that and won at least once. Yet, here we stand.

Bryce Harper did a lot of good for the Nationals. He made players want to come play for a contender. He gave us some of his best work (which we might not see out of him again, but that’s neither here nor there). Unfortunately, he didn’t produce a championship for us like he was brought in to do. Therefore, he was an organizational bust.

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