Giants

Farhan Zaidi says there's 'mutual interest' after lengthy Bryce Harper meeting

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USATSI

Farhan Zaidi says there's 'mutual interest' after lengthy Bryce Harper meeting

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.

[RELATED: Why Giants enter Harper sweepstakes ahead of suitors]

“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."

 

Ex-Giant Hunter Pence shares why playing for Rangers is childhood dream

Ex-Giant Hunter Pence shares why playing for Rangers is childhood dream

Dreams do come true, Hunter.

Former Giants outfielder Hunter Pence, who recently made the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day roster, will be playing at Globe Life Park (the home of the Rangers) on Monday night in the Rangers’ exhibition game vs. the Indians.

Pence is a native Texan and went to college at the University of Texas at Arlington. The three-time All-Star noted that when he wasn’t playing baseball in college, he used to park cars at Globe Life Park for work.

The two-time World Series champion will now get to play in the park he once worked as a college student, and we’re guessing his salary is just a bit higher now than it was then.

Pence, of course, is a fan favorite among Giants fans. Coming over in a trade from Philadelphia in 2012, he helped lead the team to two World Series titles (2012, 2014) and inspired his teammates and fans alike with his hard-nosed play and Reverend-style speeches.

[RELATED: A few longtime Giants could hit milestones this season]

The 2013 Willie Mac Award winner revamped his swing this offseason and had a strong enough spring with Texas to make the big league club.

Giants fans everywhere will surely be rooting for him as he starts this “childhood dream” chapter of his career.

2019 MLB predictions: American, National League Cy Young Award winners

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NBC Sports

2019 MLB predictions: American, National League Cy Young Award winners

The MLB season is here, and we're turning our eyes towards the players that could dominate the season. MLB reporters from across NBC Sports came together to make their predictions for the 2019 AL and NL Cy Young awards.

Could Madison Bumgarner make a contract-year Cy Young push for the Giants? Will the A's have a surprise candidate from their touch-and-go rotation?

Before we get into their predictions, let's meet the panel.

NBC Sports Bay Area - Alex Pavlovic (Giants)
NBC Sports California - Ben Ross (A's)
NBC Sports Boston - Lou Merloni (Red Sox)
NBC Sports Chicago - Tony Andracki (Cubs)
NBC Sports Chicago - Vinnie Duber (White Sox)
NBC Sports Philadelphia - Corey Seidman (Phillies)
NBC Sports Washington - Todd Dybas (Nationals)

Be sure to tune in to Wednesday's season preview show at 11:00 a.m. PT streaming on the MyTeams app.

VIEW THE PREDICTIONS HERE