New reporting is shedding light on just how close the Washington Nationals got to unloading Bryce Harper in July. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Nationals had a deal in place to trade Harper to the Astros on July 30, but Nationals ownership blocked the deal and the effort fell apart. The Nationals would have received Astros top-10 prospect J.B. Bukauskas and two other minor leaguers. While not a huge haul, the Nats will only get a compensatory pick after the fourth round if Harper signs elsewhere this winter, thanks to the fact that they’re above the luxury-tax threshold. The Nationals ultimately failed to make the playoffs, and with the monetary figures being thrown around, they’re probably not going to be able to retain him. It’s easy to see why ownership was so fond of Harper, but this looks like a case where they put their loyalty and warm feelings ahead of what was best for the franchise.