MLB free agency: Bryce Harper to Giants? They have fourth-best odds

MLB free agency: Bryce Harper to Giants? They have fourth-best odds

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have long planned to make a run at Bryce Harper this offseason. The oddsmakers like their chances. 

Bovada gave the Giants the fourth-best odds of having Harper in their Opening Day lineup, increasing their odds from a previous release. The Giants currently are 15/2 to get Harper, trailing just the Phillies (1/1), Cubs (3/1) and Nationals (4/1). The Yankees (8/1) and Dodgers (17/2) are right behind the Giants.

In September, Bovada listed the Giants as eighth, six spots behind the Dodgers. 

Harper -- one of two marquee players in this class, along with Manny Machado -- became a free agent Monday, but he cannot speak with other teams until Friday. The expectation is that he will leave the only team he has known, with many in the industry viewing the Phillies and Cubs as favorites.

The Giants always have felt they will have a chance, although it's unclear if their plans will change once a new head of baseball operations is installed. The team still does not have a replacement for Bobby Evans and likely will not before next week's GM Meetings in Carlsbad, although that shouldn't matter in the Harper sweepstakes. Players with his kind of market rarely sign before the Winter Meetings, which will be held in Las Vegas in December. 

Bovada also listed the Giants at 4/1 to get A.J. Pollock and 13/2 to get Dallas Keuchel. And if you do happen to believe they'll load up in free agency, perhaps you'll like their World Series odds. The Giants currently are 100/1 to win the 2019 title. 

Giants building MLB's next elite farm system right now, Keith Law says


Giants building MLB's next elite farm system right now, Keith Law says

Prior to the cancelation of spring training due to the coronavirus pandemic, some Giants top prospects were opening eyes in Scottsdale. 

For the second straight year, Joey Bart proved once again he has all the skills to be a star in the near future. The Giants' top prospect hit .438 with two homers and a 1.401 OPS in nine games with the big league club. He wasn't the only young prospect impressing the coaching staff, too. 

Hunter Bishop, San Francisco's top pick from the 2019 MLB Draft, only had one hit in eight at-bats in major league camp but manager Gabe Kapler saw shades of Bryce Harper in the powerful outfielder. 

"I thought that Hunter Bishop coming over made a really good impression on all of us," Kapler said Monday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger, & Brooks." "And he's a first-round pick, he's got the pedigree, he's got the power. I thought about his swing and it's so violent, very similar to the way Bryce Harper is. Harper's is violent.

"By the way, I'm not comparing Hunter to Bryce Harper," Kapler continued. "What I am saying is there's some similarities in their personality, and their hustle and the way they play the game like their hair's on fire. So, Hunter made a really strong impression."

The Athletic's Keith Law is impressed, too. 

Here's what Law was asked in his "Klawchat" on March 26: "Who is the next team on the way to building an elite farm system?"

Law had one word to answer the question: "Giants." 

The Giants landed at No. 10 in Law's preseason farm system rankings at the beginning of March. But he isn't super high on any of San Francisco's top prospects. It's more about the entirety of the system. 

"I feel like the whole exceeds the sum of the parts here," Law wrote about the Giants' farm system in March. "Each individual Giants prospect of note has some significant risk of low or no return, but if you add them all up, there’s more than enough upside to start to feel optimistic about the Giants’ long-term future." 

[RELATED: These three Giants stood out to Kapler in spring training]

Bart (No. 44) and Bishop (No. 87) are joined by Heliot Ramos (No. 52) and Marco Luciano (No. 58) on Law's top 100. The Giants also signed an exciting 17-year-old shortstop last month, Javier Alexander Francisco Estrella, who already has been compared to young San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr.

While fans will have to wait to see these young players, there are plenty of reasons of optimism in San Francisco right now.

Darren Baker, Dusty's son, donates 100 meals for coronavirus relief


Darren Baker, Dusty's son, donates 100 meals for coronavirus relief

Dusty Baker always has been one of the most respected people in baseball, both on and off the field. His son, Darren, already is following in his footsteps. 

Darren, a second baseman at Cal, announced Tuesday that he donated 100 meals to Feeding America in order to help families who are struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Darren first became famous at just 3 years old in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series when J.T. Snow swooped up the young bat boy at home plate after scoring on a Kenny Lofton triple to give San Francisco a 10-4 lead over the Anaheim Angels. Now 21, he stars for the Cal baseball team. 

Baker hit .306 and was a perfect 21-for-21 on stolen base attempts as a sophomore when he made the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. He started off slow this year, but finished his junior season batting .286 before Cal's season was canceled after only 16 games. Before the season ended, though, he did lead Cal in hits (18) and runs scored (15). 

Going into his junior season, many saw Baker as a rising draft prospect. He really impressed at the plate this summer in the Cape Cod League, is one of the best defensive infielders in the country and his speed can change games. Even more important, he's a leader as displayed with his latest act of kindness. 

[RELATED: Darren Baker writes his own story at Cal after early fame]

"He’s a big-time leader," Cal manager Mike Neu said to NBC Sports Bay Area in February. "Obviously his playing experience here, his background with who he’s learned from -- not just his dad but the big leaguers he’s been around, I mean it just automatically gives him so much of a foundation for him and for our whole team.

"He’s a leader and he’s been great in that role."