Earlier today we learned that the Giants brass met with Bryce Harper in Las Vegas for the second time in a matter of weeks. For some time they have been connected to Harper, but the thinking has been that they are offering a short-term deal, not a long-term deal. Harper’s choice, then, would be between big money in Philly, where the Phillies are reportedly offering him a contract in the offer of ten-years and $300 million, and something with a high average annual value but nowhere near as long and large a commitment in San Francisco or, perhaps, Los Angeles.
All along, the Giants have been viewed as a short-term solution for Bryce Harper. That’s not actually the case.
The Giants and Harper’s team have discussed a 10-year contract, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned. That would match the deal the Padres gave Manny Machado earlier this month and likely give Harper a chance at the record dollar figure he has been looking for.
That could certainly change the calculus.
While some may think it’s odd for the Giants to do this given that they (a) are aging; (b) are not expected to be competitive in the short term; and (c) have a lot of money committed to other players already, such considerations may not be as big a deal as they’re made out to be.
For one thing, Harper is young and even if it took a couple of years for the Giants to reshuffle, Harper would still be in his prime when they finally got things in order. In some ways it’s not terribly different than what the Padres are doing with Manny Machado, though the Giants and Padres would be expected to rebuild in very different ways.
For another thing, a big part of the Giants’ financial strength comes from a very supportive hometown crowd which has kept their park sold out or mostly sold out for some time. While attendance and revenue are not nearly as connected as they used to be, it’s particularly important in San Francisco where fans have come to expect the team to go big, always. There are other things to do in that town, after all, and the notion of a teardown rebuild is far harder to imagine with the Giants than with other teams.
Finally, there’s precedent. The first big act of the current Giants ownership group after taking over in 1992 was to sign Barry friggin’ Bonds to a big deal. There was not some master rebuild plan involved. There was not a lot of consideration of where the 1992-93 Giants were on the success cycle. They went out and got the best available player in the game and decided that they’d be better and more interesting with him than without him. The same would apply here, even if 2019 Harper is no 1992 Barry Bonds.
Will they get him? No idea. But I like that they’re trying The worst case is they lose out and don’t have to spend $300 million. Or maybe they win out, Harper doesn’t quite live up to the deal and, in the meantime, fans are pretty happy to see a really good and exciting player in Giants colors.
Whaddaya got to lose? You can’t take it with ya.