SUNDAY: The Giants plan on making Harper a short-term, big-money offer, but they’re uninterested in giving him a long-term contract along the lines of the 10-year, $300MM proposal he rejected from the Nationals, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
SATURDAY: The Giants’ meeting with free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper took place this past Monday, and it lasted twice as long as expected, per reports from Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Harper’s summit with Giants CEO Larry Baer, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy was supposed to span two hours, but it went four. After their Las Vegas visit with Harper, “there certainly was an increase in optimism” that the Giants could reel him in, writes Pavlovic, who adds there’s “an increased sense” in the clubhouse that the superstar wants to sign with San Francisco.
The Giants, for their part, are understandably bullish on Harper. On Saturday, one day after Zaidi made it known the Giants are indeed going after Harper, Baer did the same while lavishing praise on the longtime National.
“Bryce Harper is an amazing player,” Baer said. “It’s very hard, and these are competitions, and I can’t handicap it. I don’t know where we are. But we’re giving it a shot. That’s all we can do.”
Baer also made note of Harper’s age, 26, as one of the six-time All-Star’s main selling points and even referred to the Giants’ successful courtship of Barry Bonds in 1992. Then 28, Bonds, like Harper now, reached free agency after establishing himself as one of the game’s preeminent players. And the Giants managed to wrest Bonds away from Pittsburgh, where he spent the first seven years of his career, and fend off other suitors by offering him a then-record contract worth $43.75MM over six years. As Bonds did nearly 27 years ago, Harper could now be in position to set a new high-water mark when it comes to baseball contracts. It seems Harper’s aiming to approach or surpass Giancarlo Stanton’s historic $325MM pact, having reportedly turned down a $300MM-plus offer from the Nats earlier this offseason.
The Giants didn’t make an offer to Harper when they met with him, nor do they expect the protracted race for his services to end this weekend, according to Pavlovic. But as a big-spending franchise that sported the National League’s least valuable outfield in 2018, San Francisco’s second straight horrendous showing in the standings, it seems as logical a landing spot for Harper as any team in the game. And now, after winning three World Series from 2010-14 but falling from grace lately, the goal is “to bring championships back to the Giants’ fans,” Baer noted. While adding Harper may not vault the Giants back into title contention immediately, Baer’s of the belief that “one player can make a difference.”