In a letter to fans, Washington Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner on Wednesday acknowledged the organization seriously considered a roster makeover ahead of Tuesday’s nonwaiver trade deadline before deciding not to make wholesale alterations to a disappointing club that was a game under .500 on deadline day.

“In spite of a player payroll that exceeds $200 million — the second highest in baseball — and exceeding the luxury tax threshold, so far this season has not lived up to everyone’s expectations,” Lerner wrote. “The trade deadline forced us to take a hard look at the roster and contemplate whether to keep the team we have for the remainder of the season or make significant changes. At the end of the day, my family and [General Manager] Mike Rizzo decided that we just couldn’t give up on this team. We couldn’t look ourselves in the mirror knowing that we had simply thrown in the towel on a team full of talent and heart.”

Speculation over whether the Nationals would buy, sell or complete some combination of the two swirled until Tuesday, with Bryce Harper at the center. Washington had multiple trades involving multiple players, including Harper, in place Monday night, but ownership backed out, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The club then informed Harper, whose name was circulating in rumors, that he wasn’t getting moved.

“I think whenever you hear your name or see your name on stuff, you always wonder,” Harper, a free agent this winter, said Tuesday. “But I think that’s just the business end of the game. It’s part of the game, and other teams are trying to get better, and it’s just something that came up. [I’m] glad I’m still inside this clubhouse.”

The only trade the Nationals made Tuesday was sending reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs for a low-level minor leaguer — and on-field performance wasn’t the main motivation behind the move. Otherwise, the Nationals stood pat. They’re 2-0 since then, beating the flailing New York Mets to a pulp, but even that didn’t come without reliever Shawn Kelley spiking his glove in frustration after giving up a three-run homer in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 25-4 win. Rizzo decided the act was worth designating Kelley for assignment Wednesday.

Kelley’s departure wasn’t part of the deadline calculus, but the Nationals are moving on without him. The rest of the team, after some careful consideration, remains intact.

“The business of baseball is not always pretty,” Lerner wrote. “These are tough decisions — decisions that our organization does not take lightly. But I believe in this team.”

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