Farhan Zaidi hinted last month that the Giants could get back in on some of the bigger free agents if prices continued to drop. It appears they’re now targeting the biggest name still out there.
Members of the Giants front office met with Bryce Harper this week, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area. It’s believed that Larry Baer, Farhan Zaidi and Bruce Bochy were part of the contingent that flew to meet with Harper, who still has not found a home with less than a week until pitchers and catchers report.
The Giants had quietly targeted Harper over the past couple of years, but underwent a shift in strategy when Zaidi was hired in November. The new plan was the overhaul the roster incrementally and add to the existing core, but Zaidi is known to be opportunistic, and if Harper’s price has truly dropped, the Giants could find a more suitable deal.
It’s unclear, of course, if the end price would ultimately be any lower than expected. Harper and agent Scott Boras went into this offseason hoping to set records, but they have found a market lacking big-market suitors. The Phillies and White Sox have been connected to Harper throughout the offseason, and at several points it seemed Harper was close to joining Philadelphia, with the Nationals thought to be always on the periphery. The Padres were connected to Harper last week, and perhaps that helped jolt the Giants.
Harper turned down at least $300 million from the Nationals early in the offseason. That’s the type of deal the Giants would like to stay away from moving forward, but it’s also one they can afford, and that was the case even before Oracle promised hundreds of millions for naming rights.
The Giants have added just three players, and none were guaranteed even eight figures. Derek Holland, Drew Pomeranz and Pat Venditte add up to about a third of what Harper would demand per season, but after the Pomeranz deal, Zaidi left the door open for bigger moves.
“As the market evolves, there might be guys that you had kind of questioned or doubted the feasibility of at one point that you now circled back around on,” Zaidi said last month. “It’s our job and responsibility to keep tabs on all parts of the market, and we’re continuing to do that. Yeah, I do think things can change and your target list evolves over the course of the offseason.”
Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media and Jon Heyman of MLB Network first connected Harper and the Giants on Wednesday morning.