SAN FRANCISCO - Farhan Zaidi prefers not to discuss free agents, but sometimes you have no choice. When Zaidi gathered in front of reporters Friday morning, he couldn't shy away from the Bryce Harper meeting that occurred earlier this week.
"It's kind of hard to deny it when your CEO gets made in the casino," Zaidi said, laughing.
It's no secret at this point. After months of incremental moves, the Giants are seriously in on the biggest free agent to hit the market in a decade. As they met for media sessions a day before FanFest, Harper was part of just about every discussion. Some players made it clear that they would love to add him to the lineup. Zaidi made it clear that the meeting in Las Vegas this week was no PR stunt or fishing expedition.
"There's obviously mutual interest on both sides so we thought it made sense to get together," Zaidi said. "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.
That interest did not wane at the scheduled conclusion of the meeting with Harper, his wife and agent Scott Boras. The meeting lasted much longer than the Giants anticipated, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned, and Zaidi later met with Boras on his private jet. It figures they weren't just discussing the comfort of the seats.
The recruiting party was small, consisting of Zaidi, team president and CEO Larry Baer and manager Bruce Bochy, who called it "a great meeting."
"It was really good to get to know Bryce," Bochy said. "I can't tell you what's going to happen but I enjoyed the meeting with him. We'll wait and see what happens here, but it was great for us to be able to sit down with him. We know what a great player he is. Now, let's see what happens."
The baseball world has been waiting three-plus months to see where this all ends up, and the Giants will continue to be patient, even if they are now in the ring. They have not made a formal offer to Harper yet, a source said, but that's not a surprise. That's never the purpose of a first meeting. Zaidi said he's not sure when Harper might make a decision, but he nodded when asked if it could be soon.
"I certainly think so, but again, it's got to be a decision that he's comfortable with in all aspects," Zaidi said. "I think for any player, you're going through free agency and you'd love to be with a new team when camp opens, be around your teammates, familiarize yourself. But there are plenty of players in the past that continued these kinds of conversations into camp. I don't think they have any sort of deadline."