This was not supposed to be a disappointing moment for the Giants.
With a new front office in place and a new plan for the future, the Giants didn't spend their offseason anticipating having Bryce Harper in their lineup. But then the market slowed to a glacial pace, Larry Baer and Farhan Zaidi set up a meeting, and executives, coaches, players and fans started dreaming of the former MVP playing the next decade at Oracle Park. The dream won't come true.
MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported that Harper will join the Phillies.
Breaking: Bryce to the Phillies— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 28, 2019
Multiple other outlets confirmed the report that Harper is finalizing a deal with Philadelphia.
Free agent outfielder Bryce Harper is finalizing an agreement on a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, league sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 28, 2019
The Giants were a late entry into the Harper chase, but immediately became one of the perceived favorites. Harper turned down a reported $300 million from the Nationals at the end of the season and had the Phillies and White Sox after him all offseason. As he waited for the right offer, the Padres flew in for a meeting, followed by the Giants.
This is an organization that doesn't want to hand out any massive deals right now, with a goal to build the roster incrementally and clear some payroll after years of extensions for homegrown contributors and spending in free agency. But Zaidi is also opportunistic, and the Giants sensed a chance to try and sway Harper. It is thought they were focused on a short-term deal that would allow Harper to play near his Las Vegas home, in a city he has always been open about liking.
"There's obviously mutual interest on both sides so we thought it made sense to get together," Zaidi said before FanFest earlier in February. "We had a good conversation over a few hours. He's obviously got a lot of suitors and a lot of interest and has some decisions to make, but again, I think it's fair to say that was an expression of our interest level, to make the trip out there."
The Giants were only willing to go so far, though, and Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, have long sought a deal that would be a benchmark for years to come. They had a number in mind, and after months of waiting, finally got it.