It's entirely possible the offers Washington received for Harper were underwhelming and rightful so when considering the season Harper is having and how he'd only be guaranteed to play two months of baseball before becoming a free agent. He's a career.277 hitter with six all-star appearances in seven seasons.
It probably makes a lot of baseball sense to trade Harper given where the Nats are at the moment, but I have no idea how, as an entertainment enterprise, you deal him without your business being construed as a spectacular failure. Early speculation suggested big-market teams such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers could have the most interest in the free-agent-to-be. The Lerner family, which owns the team, has gushed over Harper like one of their own, and Harper himself got emotional when speaking about his Nationals tenure after his victory in that hometown Home Run Derby.
Israeli police raid al-Aqsa mosque after clashes; two dead in Gaza
He said the matter was confirmed by the Just Future for Palestine (JFP) monitoring centre, which also failed to contact the Al-Awda.
In other words, it may not be that the front office "believe [s] in this team", it may instead be that ownership stepped in and forced their hand. And trading him now would basically eliminate that possibility.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo just told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that "Bryce is not going anywhere". If the Phillies offer the best package of players for Harper, that's where he'll go. Whatever they do by 4 p.m. If any team wants to push all-in with its chips to chase a World Series title this year, at least they now know for sure who to call. Washington is 5 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East, with Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list and the clubhouse in disarray.