Bryce Harper isn't talking about the future. On Monday afternoon, Harper addressed reporters for the first time this spring training and refused to discuss anything beyond the Washington Nationals' upcoming season. That includes potential free agency. "I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019 at all," Harper said, wearing a Nats cap backward and reading prepared opening remarks from his phone. "I'm focused on this year. I'm focused on winning and playing hard like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call [agent] Scott [Boras] and he can answer you guys. ... If you guys do talk anything about that, then I'll be walking right out the door." The former No. 1 overall pick in 2010, Harper debuted in 2012 at the age of 19. In 2015, he won the National League's Most Valuable Player award, becoming the youngest player ever to be voted a unanimous MVP, after a season in which he hit .330 and led the NL with 42 home runs. Despite a down season in 2016, he returned to form last year and was considered an MVP front-runner before suffering a gruesome knee injury in mid-August that all but ended his regular season. Last May, Harper and the Nats agreed to a $21.65 million deal for the 2018 season that was the largest one-year pact ever given to an arbitration-eligible player. When that contract expires in November, the 25-year old superstar is widely expected to ink a historic deal as the headliner of a star-studded free-agent class that includes Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado and Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson. That is, if the Nationals aren't able to sign Harper to a long-term extension before then. On Monday, Harper made it abundantly clear that he has no interest in discussing his contract status, instead choosing to focus on how he can help the Nationals -- who are favorites to win their third straight NL East title -- advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since moving to Washington, D.C., in 2005.
Bryce Harper says his focus is on 2018
ESPN | Feb 19