The first domino has fallen this offseason on February 19th, as Manny Machado has signed a 10 year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres to play at “Oracle South”– I mean Petco Park. The San Francisco Giants now have their price line for Bryce Harper set.
First considered just a mystery team, the Padres were seemingly the only team willing to go to the $300 million benchmark, and Manny Machado jumped at the offer. It will hold the record for the largest free agent contract ever , for a couple days, until Bryce Harper decides which team he wants to play for. Now the San Francisco Giants have a decision to make: pay up, or let him go to Philly.
Even with the Giants late involvement in the Harper free agency, there were many reports on different days that said Harper would be signing with the Giants. There was no talk of any offer made by the Giants and it seems now that the offer would need to be more than the $300 million that Machado got, as well as the supposed offer given by the incumbent Washington Nationals.
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There were reports saying the Giants were only interested in signing Harper to a “short term deal”, which would automatically remove them from offering the $300 million. Has their logic changed since their initial meeting? Have Harper’s camp and the Giants met on other occasions since their known meeting? Maybe the Giants have an offer on the table, but we might not know that offer until it’s too late.
In the recent past, the Giants have been notorious for finishing second. This started with John Lester and was followed by Zack Greinke two offseasons later. Last offseason, the Giants were rejected by Giancarlo Stanton after a deal was agreed to, and Shohei Ohtani took a meeting with the Giants but chose the Angels.
It seems like there might be another Bachelor reference coming from the Giants front office. The Phillies have self proclaimed stupid money, and seem to be the only other competition for Harper. Will the Giants open the checkbook too?
The market, however slow moving it may have been, has now been set. The benchmark we all knew was coming is now here. I’m sure Farhan Zaidi knew he would eventually have to pay up if he wanted Bryce Harper patrolling the outfield at Oracle Park.
The Harper pursuit and subsequent drama will be over soon, and it will end with a big market team in need of a young star securing his services for the value the market determined. That team very well might be the Giants, but the Machado deal certainly does not help their chances.