With news that the San Francisco Giants are interested in free agent Bryce Harper, should we be excited or remember the lessons learned from last year’s pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton?
The situation is very similar to last year. The Giants have had a quiet offseason and it is unclear whether they seriously believe they can compete in 2019. The Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes of last year gave us so much false hope.
There were reports that the Giants were high on Stanton’s radar shortly followed by reports that the Giants were one of the last teams Stanton was considering.
It was crushing, and frankly embarrassing that the Giants pushed so hard for this guy and he basically said, ‘Yeah, no thanks.’ Stanton had the power to waive his no-trade clause and eventually he waived it to join the New York Yankees who desperately needed another right-handed outfield slugger.
The Harper comparison isn’t completely analogous though. Stanton was being actively shopped by the Miami Marlins while Bryce Harper is a free agent.
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The question is where Harper’s priorities at? It is clear that Stanton wanted to win, which is why he decided to let himself be traded to the Yankees. Does Harper want to win, or does he just want to cash in?
I’m not sure if the Giants provide what he wants in either realm. Certainly, the Giants become a much better team with Bryce Harper on it. But do they become an instant playoff contender?
Plus, with reports that the Giants are more interested in a short term deal for tons of money rather than a 10 year deal which Harper seems to be seeking, that gives him another reason to look elsewhere.
Harper does not have a World Series ring, and he is smart enough to know that the Giants’ roster lacks needed talent to make a run in the next few years.
Does he trust new kid on the block Farhan Zaidi to jumpstart this franchise and take them big places fast? Or would he rather go to a team with an established winnng infrastructure and has proven they can go deep in October?
Only Harper knows, and whoever he signs with it will become clear what his goals and aspirations are. But if recent history is any indication, this feels a whole lot like the Stanton saga replaying itself.