Bryce Harper Q&A: How would signing the star free agent affect Giants?

Bryce Harper Q&A: How would signing the star free agent affect Giants?

SAN FRANCISCO — Even in a down year, the Giants had 10 walk-off wins in 2018. This is a franchise that is familiar with the comeback, and perhaps that’ll be the case with the Chase For Bryce Harper. 

The Giants, it turns out, were a #MysteryTeam. They're in on Harper, to at least some extent, shaking up a sleepy offseason. 

If you missed it yesterday, here are the details of what went down. And here’s the all-important look at the budget. 

But there’s a lot more to unpack here, and Giants fans had a lot of questions in the hours after the Harper news broke. Let’s answer some of them … 

“Do you think he would fit in with his sassy attitude??” — @TimmysTwins 

Angel Pagan was one of the sassiest people I’ve ever met and he … wait that’s a bad example. 

I don’t know what defines a baseball player as sassy, but I chose this because there were a lot of questions about Harper’s attitude. I haven’t spent enough time around him to really know, but people who have played with Harper have told me in the past that he’s a good teammate and there won’t be any issues. When the news broke yesterday, a baseball person who has known him for a while said the same. 

Is Harper a different type than a Buster Posey or Madison Bumgarner? Sure. But the Giants have been successful with all types. Trust me, a lot of different kinds of personalities have thrived in that clubhouse. And you know what, as much as Pagan got under teammates’ skin at times, he brought an edge on the field, particularly in his early years. 

The Giants we watched for the last two years could use an edge. 

“How likely is it for the three big wigs to meet with him if this was anything but kicking tires? Seems very serious, doesn’t it?” — @Barking5pider

Yes, this is a serious pursuit. How serious? Well, that’ll depend on what Harper is really looking for. Nobody around the game seems to have a true indication, but the Giants were serious about sitting down with Harper and his team and seeing if there’s a fit, with more to come later.

No offer has been made, but Baer and Zaidi have moved from monitoring to actually being in the ring, and that’s a big step. 

“How much of a difference did the Oracle deal make in the current pursuit of signing Harper?” — @itsmiguelyo

Does it help to approach ownership with something like this after your business people have guaranteed hundreds of millions in naming rights fees? Of course. But the Giants could always afford Bryce Harper. Every MLB team can, and the Giants, in particular, were one of the few willing to swallow Giancarlo Stanton’s deal last winter. 

The difference here in February is that Harper’s market ended up being quieter than the Giants expected, and there’s now a chance to be try and be opportunistic. 

“Does Smash Mouth approve?” — EVERYONE

Yes, Smash Mouth is in on Bryce. 

“Is this the real reason Strickland moved on?” — @JimCavanah

A lot of people asked this or made a joke about Strickland. I get it, but just to clarify one last time, the Giants let Strickland go at a time when they didn’t expect to be in on Harper.

They felt they could find cheaper right-handed bullpen options (some are listed here). Oh, and for what it’s worth, the Giants and Mariners won’t play again until 2021. 

“No hair flips at Oracle Park. No overpaying for a guy that will bat .240 either. Stick with the youngsters in the outfield for now, since the team got absolutely nothing done this offseason.” — @MikeEarle*

This isn’t a question, but I’ve been amused by how many people have watched the Giants lose 187 games the last two years and still decided Harper is not a good idea. Let’s debunk a bit. 

No matter what, there will be hair flips at Oracle Park. Brandon Crawford will take care of that. 

And yes, Harper batted .249 last year, but it’s 2019 and we look at on-base percentage, and he was at .393. Harper has a .388 career OPB and has been over .400 twice in the last four years.

[RELATED: Giants fan first knew about Bryce Harper meeting with team in free agency]

As for the “youngster” angle, Harper is younger than two of the five outfielders the Giants currently have on their 40-man roster. He's the same age as Austin Slater and just a year older than Steven Duggar and Chris Shaw, who made their debuts last year. 

There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about putting that much money into one player, and it certainly is not the way Zaidi prefers to build a team. But don't worry about age, batting average or attitude as this process drags on. 

Report: Giants agree to minor league deal with veteran outfielder Craig Gentry


Report: Giants agree to minor league deal with veteran outfielder Craig Gentry

Well, it happened. The Giants signed an outfielder who previously played in the D.C. area.

It's not Bryce Harper.

The Giants have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran Craig Gentry according to Andersen Pickard of MLB Daily Dish:

MLB Trade Rumors confirmed the report

The deal also includes an invite to spring training.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reports Gentry will not be in big league camp. He will head to minor league camp, but could play in a couple of Cactus League games. 

Gentry has ten Major League seasons under his belt including the last two seasons with the Orioles where he slashed a .265/.326/.688 line before he was released in September of last year.

And an important fun nugget you need to know is the 35-year-old's nickname is "Kitten Face," compliments of Michael Gruber and his former roommate, Sean Bass.

The two were watching a Rangers game in 2011 when Gentry Kitten Face was with Texas and Gruber made a comment on how the well-manicured beard the outfielder was sporting reminded him of a kitten. 

Boom -- a legend was born.

And if you're wondering how Gentry feels about the nickname. Well, he talked about it on the back of one of his Topps cards:

(Thank you, Gruber, for showing this to us).

It's true. If they make a shirt out of it, you have to ride that out. 

At least we know he can pull off the orange and black colors.

MLB rumors: Bryce Harper has made his decision, says D.C. radio host

MLB rumors: Bryce Harper has made his decision, says D.C. radio host

A report has come out from the east coast saying Bryce Harper has come to a decision on which team he will play for in 2019 and beyond.

Chris Russell,  a sports radio talk show host from 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C., (who has been on the Harper beat for some time) said the current free agent could make a decision in the next 24 hours.

"Maybe I took a little bit of a leap of faith here based on some indications I got from a real good source," Russell told 94WIP, in Philadelphia, on Friday.

"Bryce and his representatives, (Scott) Boras, his people, his wife Kayla, they've been meeting since Monday morning in Vegas. Bryce originally wanted this done, when it took this long, by Valentine's Day. Obviously, the contract has not been announced, signed, or whatever."

"But I'm led to believe by the people that I've talked to that are close to the situation -- and I have, again, a real good source that has helped me through this process, let's just leave it at that," Russell said. "That Bryce was in a mood to celebrate yesterday. Now, the source said, 'I believe it's done.' I don't have concrete, 100 percent proof for you guys. I wish I did, otherwise, I would have it and I would be running around with it. But I don't have that, so I want to caution everybody in Philadelphia. But that's what I was led to believe, that this thing is now decided."

Russell then mentioned the Phillies.

"Now, what comes then is hammering out a contract. And if we were to believe the report that the Philadelphia Phillies had not even extended a formal offer -- and I assume that to be a termed, written agreement, that type of thing, which I find hard to believe -- then there might be more leg work to this. And therefore, hey the decision may be done but the contract still needs to be ironed out."

[RELATED: Phillies fan participates in "lent" in hopes of recruiting Harper]

Russell is being safe with the terminology he's using, which is understandable. And while we haven't been able to confirm these rumors, Harper, along with many other free agents, remained unsigned.

The Giants appeared to be the "mystery team" that introduced themselves late into the Harper sweepstakes -- and when the radio hosts asked Russell his opinion on where the outfielder will end up next season, he believed Harper will be in an orange and black uniform.

"I don't think it's going to be the Nationals," Russell said. "I think it's going to be the San Francisco Giants, but that is not by any means an 'I know that for a fact,' so I want to caution everybody -- I know how this works -- I get in trouble with everything I say on my radio show and everyone blows it up." 

The wait continues ...