SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants have always been very open about the issues their ballpark presents when they're trying to lure free agent sluggers, but they also have always been quietly concerned about the impact of California's state taxes.
During an appearance on KNBR on Thursday morning, Scott Boras, the agent for Bryce Harper, mentioned the tax issue when asked how close the Giants came to signing Harper.
"In a negotiation you try to put forth what Bryce's needs and wants were, and certainly the Giants took some great steps to look at that," Boras said. "It's difficult for a California team because of the tax issues when you're doing valuations and you're in competition with a team that has much more valued tax elements. There are economics involved."
Harper signed a record-breaking 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies, choosing the emerging NL East power over a pair of California teams, the Giants and Dodgers. As NBC Sports Bay Area first reported, the Giants offered Harper $310 million over 12 years, but they would have had to go well over $330 million to make up for the tax difference.
Boras said Harper likes San Francisco and strongly considered the Giants, and he credited Farhan Zaidi and Larry Baer with doing a good job of making their case.
"The Giants are on of the best franchises in baseball," Boras told KNBR. "I think players are aware of that and because of that they get opportunities to get players like Bryce Harper to listen to them."
Boras shot down another theory about why Harper chose not to come to San Francisco, saying he wasn't concerned about the ballpark's pitcher-friendly dimensions. The agency ran a study that showed Harper would hit more home runs at Oracle Park than he did at Nationals Park because his swing strengths are to left-center field. (It should be noted that Citizens Bank Park is a much easier place to hit than Oracle or Nationals Park.)
Boras, a Northern California native, said Oracle Park is his favorite ballpark, but there is one change he would make.
"The bullpens are dangerous," he said. "Bryce Harper tripped over the bullpen in right and hurt his shoulder there. It's something where we've got to figure out a way to get the bullpens out in the outfield, maybe take that right-center (gap) and make that a little more hitter-friendly."