"I think it's about being able to be the person that I am and not saying to myself, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm not a National.' Or, 'Oh my gosh, those guys are doing what they're doing. I can't believe it. I'm so jealous,'" Harper told The Athletic for a story published Friday. "No. I'm so happy for them. You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it's an amazing thing."
Harper left the Nationals in the offseason after playing his first seven major league seasons in Washington. He signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies.
"I made my decision, and that was my decision," Harper said. "And it was the final decision that I made. You know, jealousy isn't good. For me, it's about having the gratitude to go out and do what I do each day and not having an attitude toward anybody else."
Rather than signing Harper, the Nationals added Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez to their rotation then stocked their bullpen at the trade deadline to prepare for a postseason run.
Harper said those moves, along with a much more affordable outfield of Juan Soto, Víctor Robles and Adam Eaton, put the Nationals in place to succeed.
"It was kind of the perfect storm for them," Harper said. "... Not signing me, they were able to go out and get the starting pitching that they needed and the pitching that they needed for their bullpen."
Harper's former teammate Jayson Werth warned not to go so far as to say that the Nationals are better because Harper's not there. Werth called that idea "the stupidest conversation ever."
For his part, Harper didn't want to respond to that kind of question.
"I'll let Jayson answer that for me," he said. "I won't comment on that one."
Harper and the Nationals are both sitting at home, but Washington will soon pick up the bats and gloves to face either the Houston Astros or New York Yankees in the World Series, which begins Tuesday.
And Harper said he is looking forward to those games.
"I like watching sports," Harper told The Athletic. "I enjoy watching games. So if the Astros beat the Yankees or vice versa, I [can't wait] to see that lineup for the Yankees hit against [the Nationals], or seeing that starting staff for the Astros against that starting staff of the Nats. That's pretty cool baseball right there."
Stephen A.: Nats are finding life is better without Harper
Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman react to the Nationals reaching the World Series after Bryce Harper left for the Phillies.