If the Giants fail to get Harper, it really isn’t the end of the world. However, there is a reason I say the Giants need to pull the plug now. While the Harper hold out is beneficial in that it’s preventing key free agents from being signed, once a deal does go through, teams will start pursuing.
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You don’t want the Giants to miss out on trying to get someone that can still help in the outfield. But who of the remaining outfield free agents not named Bryce Harper are still out there?
If we were still in the Bobby Evans Era, missing out on Bryce Harper would likely mean the signing of somebody like Adam Jones or Carlos Gonzalez. Both have seen a decline in their power numbers, but both are still pretty serviceable hitters.
They have good clutch stats, and their Oracle numbers are about average. They would likely take a short-term deal, and could even be used as trade bait later on in the season. We saw the same thing happen with Andrew McCutchen, who brought in a decent return.
Then there are the guys who fit Farhan Zaidi’s mold. Marwin Gonzalez is someone to keep an eye on in this case. Gonzalez is my front-runner choice, just because his clutch numbers are a little bit better, and his numbers at Oracle are solid (.357/.400/.714 in 14 ABs). In fact, Gonzalez has good numbers at most of the NL West parks, which bodes very well for a struggling offense. The most important factor to Zaidi is that they play multiple positions, a key in his formula for a successful ball club.
The point is, there are other options out there if Harper decides that he is better off elsewhere, and so be it if he does. There is nothing wrong with taking the money and the big deal, but if the Giants know they’re not in a good position for it, they need to let it go. It’s clear with the free-agent depth signings that they’re not going to wait around much longer, and nor should they. It’s time for the Giants to say “thanks for your consideration, but we really need to move on.”