When you have to crank out content all day, the idea of filtering news for importance falls away quickly. Anything related to the Giants, even tangentially, must be considered post-worthy. When that would-be news involves Bryce Harper, then I take it a little more seriously; but Jon Heyman’s article yesterday — “Giants could make sense for Bryce Harper” — still felt like idle speculation. So now here I am speculating about speculation.
And Giants GM Bobby Evans on Sirius radio recently did nothing to dispel the possibility that Harper is on their radar.
“They do make some sense,” one Harper friend said of the Giants.
These two sentences were the backbone of the article. He heard Bobby Evans give an interview where he was asked about Harper point blank and Evans didn’t deny it:
“We’re gonna be focused in the market as much as anybody... the trade market as we get to the winter. But that’s so far ahead of us now. But, yeah, there’s always an eye on the free agent market.”
And then he reached out to someone associated with Harper for that quote, which reads like the bunt hit against the shift of quotes for a story like this. If it sounds like I’m knocking Heyman, please know that I’m not — this is a pro-Heyman shop — but I am suggesting that, well, you know, it’s a stock answer based on well-known facts and doesn’t really rise to the level of news.
“They do make some sense” because the Giants have the money — Heyman’s article could’ve mentioned that the competitive balance tax (CBT) threshold jumps to $206 million next year, then rises by $2 million in each of the following two seasons — and, if they can stay under the CBT threshold this year then they’ll be one of the few teams in position to make that 10-year/$400 million offer Scott Boras seeks.
He’ll also fill a desperate need in the outfield at either corner and in the lineup as a home run hitter. And he’ll be their first truly talented hard ass since Barry Bonds. Truly talented hard asses are underrated. Sure, they’re hard asses, but they’re also truly talented, and that hard assery is how they keep themselves at that truly talented level. Most people conflate hard asses with assholes, and that’s where the truly talented run into problems.
But back around to the main point: the newsworthiness of Harper to the Giants is suspect, but it persists! Just six weeks ago, The Chronicle’s John Shea wrote all about the possibility, suggesting the Giants’ real estate development could be the pot of gold that draws Harper to their end of the rainbow. And to my credit, I wrote a post remarking on how it was too soon to speculate on such a thing.
It’s too early to speculate about whether or not the Giants will offer Bryce Harper $400 million in the offseason, but it’s not too early to jump to the conclusion that the Giants have no shot at him even if they put themselves in the running. As Brian Sabean explains:
“To entice a free agent to come to San Francisco, we’re almost in an overpay situation, so why get involved in all those battles where you’re not going to be able to go up the totem pole money-wise? ... You’ve got the state of California taxes. (San Francisco) is a long way from where some of these guys live in the offseason. It’s not a hitters’ ballpark, so you can scratch that side of the fence. It takes the right pitcher to consider wanting to come there for a number of different reasons, some of them I just mentioned, even if it’s a pitchers’ ballpark in a pitchers’ division.”
We do this dance every offseason now. The Giants try to woo a top of the market free agent but walk away empty handed. This keeps happening because Scott Boras needs bidders, and the Giants have deep pockets and good intentions that he can use to get the right deal. That’s the level of speculation I’m into: the terms of the deal, not the team who makes it.