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


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."


MLB rumors: Manny Machado, Padres agree to $300 million contract


MLB rumors: Manny Machado, Padres agree to $300 million contract

Manny Machado has his new home. After spending 66 games with the Dodgers last season, he's reportedly staying in the NL West. 

Machado and the Padres have agreed to a record deal, according to multiple reports. And the bank is officially open in San Diego. 

The Padres are signing Machado to a 10-year, $300 million contract, reports Mark Feinsand of It's the biggest free agent contract in the history of American sports. 

Though the deal is for 10 years, Machado can opt out after five, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. 

Machado, 26, hit .297 with 37 home runs and 107 RBI between the Orioles and Dodgers last season. He's four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner at third base, who can also play shortstop.

Jeff Passan of ESPN was first to report the news. 

More to come... 

Bruce Bochy recounts his favorite memories from tenure as Giants manager

Bruce Bochy recounts his favorite memories from tenure as Giants manager

"Even though I'm retiring, I'm looking forward to one more shot."

The Giants' world was rocked Monday, when Bruce Bochy announced that this coming season would be his last as manager for San Francisco. It had been on Bochy's mind for some time, and he thought it best to have everyone on the same page heading into what will be his final season in the dugout.

"It was important for me to tell them that, and really to get it out," Bochy told NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez during an exclusive interview following his announcement. "So I could be honest with everybody and get it behind us and it wouldn't be a distraction for myself, Farhan (Zaidi), Larry (Baer), the team ... everybody. We can concentrate on baseball."

Suddenly, the 2019 season has taken on a whole new meaning for the Giants. Yes, a return to contention after the last two dismal years is certainly high on the list of goals. But now, each time they take the field, there's going to be an element of, 'Win one for the skipper' to it.

There are bound to be numerous pit stops along the way at which point Bochy will be honored for his vast contributions to the Giants franchise, including, of course, three World Series titles in a span of five years. Of the nine other former managers in MLB history to win at least three World Series titles, all of them are already in the Hall of Fame. Bochy will surely join them there.

[RELATED: Next stop, Cooperstown: Why Bochy is Baseball Hall lock]

But if it's up to Bochy, those in-season ceremonies will be kept to a minimum. "That's not what this is about," he told Gutierrez.

Whether or not he gets his wish remains to be seen. But no matter what, you can count on a whole lot of reminiscing over the next seven or eight months, depending on how successful Bochy's final season is.

Heck, it's already begun. In their conversation, Bochy was asked about his favorite memories as the Giants' skipper. One immediately came to mind, and for good reason.

"This one's probably pretty obvious, but when I handed the ball to my son coming out of the bullpen, that's a moment I'll never forget."

Outside of specific memories, a constant one that holds a special place in Bochy's heart is the endless support he's received from Giants fans over the last 12 seasons.

[RELATED: Giants' players determined to send Bochy out on high note]

"That was the one constant that I always had and the team always had over my tenure there," Bochy said, "is that they've always been there."

Bochy and the Giants plan to figure out a future role for him with the organization, so it's not as if he'll disappear from AT&...err....Oracle Park altogether. In fact, Bochy doesn't intend to go far at all.

"It's just amazing how well I've been treated up there," Bochy said of San Francisco, "and that's where I'm sure I'm going to end up making my home because that's home for me."