The San Francisco Giants reportedly met with Bryce Harper a second time in Las Vegas yesterday, signaling that their interest in Harper is more than just exploratory.
Reports surfaced this week that the San Francisco Giants rival, Los Angeles Dodgers, have shown interest in re-engaging with Harper’s agent Scott Boras about possibly bringing in the 26 year old slugger.
It might be no accident that this second meeting happened quickly after those reports.
Andrew Baggerly of The Athletic is reporting that sense around the clubhouse is the team has a legitimate chance at landing the best free agent on the market this weekend.
This has been a methodically slow off-season for the Giants, who have clearly taken a step back throughout the winter and looked for small deals from fringe talents.
If San Francisco lands Harper, it will completely flip flop what this off-season has been to this point.
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It is possible for the Giants to sign Harper and still have a philosophy change in how they look at long term free agent deals. While they have been burned to varying degrees in the past with big signings to Barry Zito, Jeff Samardzija, Mark Melancon, Johnny Cueto and others, this is different.
This would be the best player the Giants have signed in the free agent market since Barry Bonds in 1993 and it wouldn’t be close. At 26, Harper is several years younger than typical free agents and having Bryce for his prime seasons might be worth abandoning your new philosophy for him.
Harper is clearly a transcendent talent, similar to Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, possibly Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and others. With the recent signing of Nolan Arenado to a lucrative eight year extension with the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres signing Manny Machado for ten years, talents like Harper are going to be harder to go get in the future.
There is no guarantee that Trout or Betts ever become free agents and for an elite prospect like Guerrero Jr., that answer won’t be for some time.
Going after and landing Harper would give the current group of vets their best chance to win now, which after all they have done to bring championships to San Francisco is the least the team can do.