The Giants have been long-rumored suitors for Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who’s expected to reach free agency in the offseason and sign one of the richest contracts in baseball history. While Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle opines that the deep-pocketed Giants should go after Harper, he casts doubt on the possibility of the soon-to-be 26-year-old superstar signing with them. Giants CEO Larry Baer said this week that the club should “lean more toward the development” side of things in the immediate future, Schulman points out, adding it’s doubtful Harper would select San Francisco over teams in better position to contend immediately. Schulman also suggests that the Giants’ stadium, pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, could work against them during the Harper sweepstakes. It’s worth noting, then, that the Giants’ venue currently ranks 19th among 30 parks in HR factor for left-handed hitters, per Baseball Prospectus.
A couple more notes from the National League…
- Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to rejoin the team’s rotation during the first week of September, manager Mike Shildt told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other reporters Saturday. Wacha will first need to get through a Double-A rehab outing on Tuesday, when he could throw 75 to 80 pitches, per Goold. A left oblique strain has kept Wacha out since June 21, before which he made 15 starts and tossed 84 1/3 innings of 3.20 ERA/4.21 FIP ball. Meanwhile, reliever Dominic Leone is also on track to return to the Cardinals early next month, Joe Trezza of MLB.com tweets. The offseason trade acquisition from Toronto landed on the DL on May 5 with a nerve issue in his right biceps – an injury which has prevented Leone from properly following up the excellent 2017 he had with the Blue Jays.
- Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper suffered a setback during a rehab assignment on Wednesday and is “likely” done for the season, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes. Cooper has been dealing with right wrist problems since the second game of the season, when the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks hit him with a pitch, and hasn’t played since July 20. With the Marlins having traded former starting first baseman Justin Bour to the Phillies earlier this month, a healthy Cooper perhaps could have made a case for the job heading into 2019. Instead, it appears the 27-year-old’s season will end with a .212/.316/.242 batting line over just 38 major league plate appearances.