MLB rumors: Bryce Harper, Phillies finalizing contract agreement

MLB rumors: Bryce Harper, Phillies finalizing contract agreement

This was not supposed to be a disappointing moment for the Giants. 

With a new front office in place and a new plan for the future, the Giants didn't spend their offseason anticipating having Bryce Harper in their lineup. But then the market slowed to a glacial pace, Larry Baer and Farhan Zaidi set up a meeting, and executives, coaches, players and fans started dreaming of the former MVP playing the next decade at Oracle Park.

The dream won't come true. 

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Thursday that Harper will join the Phillies. Multiple other outlets confirmed that the two sides were finalizing an agreement.

ESPN's Jeff Passan has the details on the reported money and length of the contract.

The $330 million commitment to Harper is the largest guarantee in North American sports history, surpassing Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million.

The Giants were a late entry into the Harper chase, but immediately became one of the perceived favorites. Harper turned down a reported $300 million from the Nationals at the end of the season and had the Phillies and White Sox after him all offseason. As he waited for the right offer, the Padres flew in for a meeting, followed by the Giants. 

This is an organization that doesn't want to hand out any massive deals right now, with a goal to build the roster incrementally and clear some payroll after years of extensions for homegrown contributors and spending in free agency. But Zaidi is also opportunistic, and the Giants sensed a chance to try and sway Harper. They reportedly discussed offering a 10-year deal when they met earlier this week.

“There’s obviously mutual interest on both sides so we thought it made sense to get together,” Zaidi said before FanFest earlier in February. “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."

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The Giants were only willing to go so far, though, and Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, have long sought a deal that would be a benchmark for years to come. They had a number in mind, and after months of waiting, finally got it. 

Madison Bumgarner explains what's 'special' about being Giants player

Madison Bumgarner explains what's 'special' about being Giants player

Before the season started, Madison Bumgarner not only was the main topic of trade conversation for the Giants, but he was one of the main subjects to discuss in all of baseball.

What would the ROI be for an experienced guy with MadBum’s list of accomplishments? Where would he end up? The questions were endless.

And the thought of him no longer being a Giant was becoming more of a reality as the season trickled by.

During a recent interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez, the three-time World Series champion was asked what it was like to be a Giants up until this point after receiving a heartwarming comment from a fan.

"It means everything," he said. "My career up until this point has been here, and we've done a lot of special things here -- man, it's so many good memories -- and some bad ones too, but you got to take the good with the bad. But this is a special place. Unbelievable fans, and it's really special and means a lot."

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It's no secret how much Bumgarner loves playing for the Giants, and he's kept rather hush-hush on what the future holds for him. Despite knowing he more than likely won't be with the team for much longer, the memories he possesses are something that cannot be duplicated. 

Giants present spunky new lineup vs. Rockies, but it's not enough in loss


Giants present spunky new lineup vs. Rockies, but it's not enough in loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was a different look on Wednesday afternoon, and for three innings it was a pretty spunky one.

Bruce Bochy went with lefties -- mostly not the familiar ones -- atop the lineup and the Giants had some success against tough right-handed pitcher German Marquez, who nearly no-hit them earlier this year. It wasn't enough to overcome a grand slam given up by Jeff Samardzija, but as Bochy desperately searches for solutions at Oracle Park, perhaps he has stumbled onto something. 

Brandon Belt hit leadoff and the plan is for that to continue for a few more games, at least. Mike Yastrzemski hit second and scored in the first before doubling while leading off the fifth. Pablo Sandoval had an RBI double and solo homer while hitting third. Alex Dickerson had an RBI double in the two-run first and later drew a walk. Stephen Vogt, batting fifth, had hits in his first two at-bats. 

This is not at all what the Giants planned. Belt hit leadoff one time in his career before Tuesday. Yastrzemski and Vogt started the season in Triple-A and Dickerson was with the Padres. Sandoval, who has turned into Bochy's most dangerous hitter, ended a nervous spring thinking he would get mostly pinch-hit at-bats. 

But for about an hour there Wednesday, the lineup looked somewhat dangerous and worked Marquez hard. Bochy said he could take a look at that lefty-hitting group again depending on the matchups. 

"We had some great at-bats," he said. "We hit a lot of balls hard. I thought it was one of our better days offensively even though we only scored three runs."

The Giants will wait and see what they have in Yastrzemski and Dickerson, and while Vogt has seen more time of late, he won't be supplanting Buster Posey. Belt is the one with easily the tightest hold on a starting job, but Sandoval may not be far behind now given his play. He has started 13 games in June and isn't slowing down. The homer tied him with Kevin Pillar for the team lead at 10, and the double left the bat at 114.7 mph, a season-high for the Giants. The OPS is back above .900. 

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"He's got his rhythm and timing right now," Bochy said. "He's seeing the ball well and it's jumping off the bat."

Sandoval will continue to see time near the top of the order. Given where the team is, the rest of the guys who made up the upper half Wednesday probably should, too.