Posted on February 9, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
Just when we thought the Bryce Harper sweepstakes were starting to wind down, we get a curveball. With Harper’s suitors reportedly down to four teams, it seemed like we were getting close. But that was before the San Francisco Giants threw their hat into the ring. Harper reportedly took a meeting with the Giants earlier this week, a meeting that took place due to “mutual interest on both sides.”
The Giants have declined to speak too in-depth about the meeting with Harper. However, after a fan posted that Giants CEO Larry Baer was seen in Las Vegas, the club has not denied meeting with Harper. The Giants have even gone one step further in stating that there is genuine interest on both sides after having previous discussions with Harper’s representatives.
“There’s obviously mutual interest on both sides, so we thought it made sense to get together,” said Giants baseball operations chief Farhan Zaidi. “We had a good conversation over a few hours, and he’s obviously got a lot of suitors and a lot of interest. He’s going to have some decisions to make, but again, I think it’s fair to say that was an expression of our interest level to make the trip out there and meet with him.”
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With another slow winter on the free agent market, it’s unclear if Harper is getting the kind of offers he foresaw heading into the offseason. He reportedly declined a 10-year, $300 million offer to stay with the Nationals last September, so it stands to reason that he would hold out for a better offer. It also stands to reason that the Giants have the payroll flexibility to offer Harper a comparable contract.
Unlike some of the other teams in the race to sign Harper, the Giants have a genuine need in their outfield. San Francisco is also a team in need of a big splash. The Giants are a club that’s accustomed to being in the postseason and competing for titles. However, they’ve been absent from the playoffs the past two seasons and are no doubt eager to get back there any way they can. Obviously, those factors won’t matter to Harper personally. But they could make the Giants willing to outbid some of their competitors. For now, the Giants are trying to play things close to the vest.
“Having kind of a face-to-face meeting gives you kind of a different level of being able to engage,” said Zaidi. “Can’t exactly deny that the meeting happened. But beyond that, not really going to have comment on the substance of the meeting beyond that obviously we have interest. You don’t make a trip out there to meet with a player just for show.”
With the Giants entering the discussion, we know there are at least five teams in the running for Harper. It’s hard to tell where they rank compared to perceived favorites like the Phillies and White Sox. However, San Francisco’s interest should not be dismissed. The Giants are genuine players in the Harper sweepstakes.