The San Francisco Giants are not exiting the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, at least not quietly.
According to a report from Kerry Crowley, president of baseball operations and local hero Farhan Zaidi, as well as CEO Larry Baer traveled to Las Vegas on Tuesday to meet with Harper and notorious super-agent Scott Boras. It was the second time the Giants have met with Harper and his camp.
Details of the meeting have not been disclosed, though it’s of note that Crowley reports on the Giants officially having offered at least one contract to Harper at some point during their pursuit over the last few weeks.
The bidding for Harper is down to three teams - the Giants, the Philadelphia Phillies, and this week’s addition, the Los Angeles Dodgers (gasp!). And while this has dragged on for ages, Bob Nightengale reports that Harper is expected to reach a decision some point this week.
That’s the bulk of the story: The Giants are one of three remaining teams for the 26-year old six-time All-Star, and they’re hoping like hell that he gives them a rose.
But there are a few other things to consider.
The Smash Mouth effect
Vocal Giants fans and ogre theme songers Smash Mouth recently put in their two cents. as they often do. Could this have been the deciding factor in Baer and Zaidi hightailing it to the city of sin?
We are hearing Giants ownership/upper mgmt might not be on the same page as Zaidi regarding Harper. They want to offer a long term contract like they did with Bonds and Zaidi does NOT want to. Sabean/Baer step the F up, this is your team, not some slappy's from the Dodgers! @KNBR— Smash Mouth (@smashmouth) February 26, 2019
Bizarre rage at Zaidi notwithstanding, and credible sources pending, their point may actually be accurate. After the Giants tried like all heck to acquire Giancarlo Stanton’s massive contract a year ago, and given their contracts in past years, it seems likely that those who have been in the organization a while are keen on approaching the 10-years, $300+ million that the Phillies are likely offering. Zaidi, on the other hand, has no history of doling out those types of contracts.
Trust in Zaidi. But also, like, sign Harper please, regardless of cost.
The Dodgers effect
When Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres, Zaidi said it wouldn’t impact the Giants moves. Which is as it should be - reactionary is no (successful) way to franchise.
But the Dodgers strongly entering the Harper sweepstakes is a bit different. If the Giants aren’t only bidding to increase their talent level, but to keep a bitter rival (and Zaidi’s former employer) from leveling up. Is that worth an extra $5 million a year? Is it worth an extra two years on the contract?
It’s hard to say, but it’s surely a factor, and Scott Boras has to be happy that the bidding has come down to a pool featuring two rivals.
Also of note: Zaidi is familiar with the inner-workings of the Dodgers, and likely knows what they’re willing to invest in a talent like Harper. Can he use that to his advantage?
Make it happen
If you have a soul, you want the Giants to sign Harper, regardless of cost. At this point, he has three choices. He can sign with the Phillies, a team he reportedly does not want to play for but is offering him the most money. He can sign with the Dodgers, who are opponents of morality and justice. Or he can sign with the Giants.
So, make it happen, Giants. Make it happen.
The Giants and Harper’s team have discussed a 10-year deal, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned.