Giants

Bryce Harper would bring 'no red flags' to Giants, says Mike Krukow

Bryce Harper would bring 'no red flags' to Giants, says Mike Krukow

The Giants have officially entered #MysteryTeam territory. 

In an offseason full of signing little-known players like Mike Gerber and Brandon Beachy, the Giants met with superstar free agent Bryce Harper this week, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic on Wednesday.

Sound the alarms. 

Whenever Harper is brought up with any team, fans have questions and concerns. Lots of them. Pump the brakes. 

“I don’t see any red flags at all,” Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said Thursday on KNBR. “If anything, I think there’s been some positives because I don’t know if he was 100 percent all last year, which tells me he plays hurt. He goes out there every day, and I think that’s very important because even if you don’t have all your tools working, when you step in that batters box, you affect the game.

"I don’t care if he’s hitting .230 in July; you still think the guy’s going to hit one out of the ballpark.

Harper hit a career-low .249 for the Nationals last season after an extremely slow start from the six-time All-Star. He also still hit 34 home runs, knocked in 100 runs and led the league with 130 walks. At only 26 years old, Krukow believes we still haven't seen Harper's best. 

“I think the guy is extremely talented, and I think his best years are still to come," Krukow said. "You don’t have many guys that can combine power with the ability to hit for average. There just aren’t that many of ’em, and he’s one of them.”

From his hair, to his beard, to his all-out style of play, Harper brings swag to the stadium. Some people see that as a bad thing, but Krukow would welcome the addition. 

[RELATED: What would Bryce Harper do to Giants' payroll plans?]

“It’s fun for Giants fans as well as broadcasters to imagine having Bryce out there,” Krukow said. “It would be drama every time he stepped in the box, and there’d be drama every time he hit the streets." 

Bring on the so-called drama. Bring on the bat flips. Bring on the fun. This is a team that badly needs it, and Harper would bring it all every day to the Giants.

Giants add interesting arm on way out of Winter Meetings

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Giants add interesting arm on way out of Winter Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- It'll be easy to tell when the Giants are once again elite on the field, but when it comes to the health of the minor league system and back end of the 40-man roster, the indicators aren't as clear to the public. One good measure of success will be the yearly Rule 5 Draft, which provides an opportunity for struggling clubs to add talent to their big league roster by raiding loaded systems. 

The Astros lost three prospects in the first 10 selections Thursday morning. The Yankees, Nationals and Rays also lost players during the first four picks. That's a sign of health for those organizations, of depth the Giants hope to build. They've made strides but they're still far behind, so on Thursday they once again were on the selecting end. 

A year after they took two players in the Rule 5, the Giants used their lone open roster spot on Dany Jimenez, a 25-year-old right-hander who pitched in the Blue Jays' system last year. Jimenez has a live arm and better command than you usually see from Rule 5 picks. The Giants will throw him in the bullpen mix but must return him to the Blue Jays if Jimenez is not on their big league roster.

"We were happy he fell to us," general manager Scott Harris said. "As we talked about all week, we're trying to find talent. We're trying to find new creative ways. This isn't the most creative way but we got an arm we like."

The Giants selected Drew Ferguson and Travis Bergen last December and later acquired Connor Joe, who was their opening day left fielder. Ferguson was sent back to the Astros during the spring and Joe ended up back with the Dodgers after a few games. Bergen lasted a few months but eventually was sent back to the Blue Jays. 

Jimenez has a strong shot at making the opening day roster and has a better shot than most Rule 5 picks of surviving. It's easier to hide a pitcher in your bullpen all year, particularly with the rosters expanding and the Giants able to carry 13 arms throughout the season. Jimenez also has more experience than Bergen did. He reached Double-A last season and dominated, posting a 1.87 ERA and striking out 46 in 33 2/3 innings. 

Harris said Jimenez has a fastball in the upper 90s. He has averaged 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors and has kept his walk rate on the high end of what's acceptable. That might play in the big leagues, giving the Giants a free reliever at a time when their bullpen is undergoing massive changes. 

The Giants did not lose a player in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft. In the Triple-A phase, they added Brewers catching prospect Bryan Torres to the River Cats' roster. There was one other pick of note. Starting pitcher Stephen Woods was the fourth overall pick of the draft, going from the Rays to the Royals. Two years ago, the Giants sent Woods to Tampa Bay in the Evan Longoria deal. 

MLB rumors: Angels pursuing Madison Bumgarner during free agency

MLB rumors: Angels pursuing Madison Bumgarner during free agency

The Angels' search for an ace continues.

The Halos missed out on Southern California native Gerrit Cole, who couldn't turn down a reported record nine-year, $324 million contract from the Yankees. And Stephen Strasburg, who hails from San Diego, returned to the Nationals on a seven-year, $245 million deal. 

So, who will the Angels turn to now? They reportedly have their eyes on longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. 

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Wednesday night that the Angels are pursuing MadBum, among other pitchers as well. 

Bumgarner reportedly is being courted by several teams -- including the Dodgers --  but NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported Wednesday that the Giants still are in talks with the left-hander's camp. If Bumgarner does sign with the Angels, however, it not only would spell the era of an era in San Francisco, it would be bad news for the A's. 

[RELATED: Report: D-backs discussed offering MadBum $70M contract]

While Cole no longer is in the AL West, star third baseman Anthony Rendon reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract to join the Angels after years of starring on the Nationals. The Angels now feature a lineup of Mike Trout, Rendon, Shohei Ohtani and some guy named Albert Pujols. 

Add an ace like Bumgarner could be the cherry on top for the Angels. It also would be another hurdle for the A's to clear in their path to winning the AL West.