Giants

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

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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."

 

Giants honor Bruce Bochy with cannon water salute before final flight

Giants honor Bruce Bochy with cannon water salute before final flight

Talk about going out with a bang. 

As Giants manager Bruce Bochy prepared for his final team flight back to San Francisco on Sunday after his team's 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves, his squad paid tribute with commemorative t-shirts, hats, and Bochy’s No. 15 plastered on the outside of the chartered plane in sticker form.

Just before the team plane prepared to depart the Atlanta airport, the Giants arranged for a ceremonial salute fitting for a three-time champion and winner of over 2,000 games as a manager.

[RELATED: Giants' improved road record provides silver lining for 2019 season]

The Giants will close out the 2019 season with six home games in what will be a week-long recognition of one of the franchise’s most successful managers.

Maybe Bochy can use that time in the air to enjoy some of the many gifts he received from opposing teams during his final season.

Giants' Madison Bumgarner convinced balls are juiced: 'No denying it'

Giants' Madison Bumgarner convinced balls are juiced: 'No denying it'

Madison Bumgarner isn't one to mince words, and recently the Giants starting pitcher said what everyone has been thinking.

The balls are juiced.

"There's no denying it," Bumgarner told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story published Friday. "I don't think anybody at this point is denying the ball is different. It's definitely different, and it's affecting a lot of the all-time stats."

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and a simple glance at the home-run leaderboard serves to confirm Bumgarner's suspicion. While New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso is the only player thus far to reach the 50-homer plateau, there are another seven players in the forties, and another 47 in the thirties.

The league's previous home run record -- 6,105, set in 2017 -- was surpassed two weeks ago. There's still a week left in the season. Those are the only two seasons in MLB history with at least 6,000 home runs.

The Giants haven't had a single player with 20 home runs in any of the last three seasons. They already have two this year, with Evan Longoria knocking on the door with 19.

So, it's not as if the Giants' hitters haven't similarly benefitted from a juiced ball. Still, Bumgarner isn't a fan.

"I just don't like it when they change the game so much," he said. "This changes it a lot."

[RELATED: Giants rookie Webb trying to send message to front office]

Given that the current game has basically been turned into a nightly home-run derby, it's not surprising that a pitcher would complain. Of course, Bumgarner has only hit one himself after five previous multi-homer seasons, so maybe he's just frustrated he hasn't been able to take better advantage.