MLB rumors: Bryce Harper talks 'heating up'; Phillies seen as favorites


MLB rumors: Bryce Harper talks 'heating up'; Phillies seen as favorites

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants will hold their first full-squad workout Monday, joining teams across Arizona and Florida. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned as camps really get going, but perhaps there finally will be some movement with one of the star free agents.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Sunday that “things are heating up with Harper.” Heyman also tweeted that the Phillies are the favorites to sign the slugger, but “word remains that nothing’s done yet. Will be a long-term deal.”

Heyman later added that Harper still is talking to other teams besides the Phillies -- the Giants and the Padres specifically are involved. Harper also has "multiple long-term offers" for more than $30 million per year, according to Heyman.

USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale surmised Philadelphia might have met Harper's asking price of over $300 million

The Phillies have been viewed as the favorites for Harper most of the offseason, especially after ownership vowed to spend “stupid” money early in the winter. But when the Giants jumped into the mix two weeks ago, many around the game viewed them as a choice on par with the Phillies.

If Harper is intent on a long-term deal, the Giants would be a poor fit. Under new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, they don’t want to give out the kinds of contracts that have crippled their flexibility.

[RELATED: Giants continue discussing trade options as they wait for Harper]

When Zaidi took over, no team had more future payroll already tied up than the Giants. Team executives did not make an initial offer in their meeting with Harper earlier this month, but it's unknown if they have circled back.  

If the Harper talks are coming to an end, that would seem to be news to the Giants. A source said Sunday that they've heard nothing new on that front. 

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Gabe Kapler had his introductory press conference as the Giants' new manager, and he's chosen his uniform number as well.

The skipper has chosen No. 19 to sport this season, which means young infielder Mauricio Dubon will have to choose a new number -- and he needs your help.

He recently took to Twitter and asked what number he should wear now that he has to make the switch: 

No. 21 appeared to stand out from a Milwaukee Brewer's fan account, since Honduras became a country in 1821. Dubon was born in Honduras in 1994 (sorry to make you guys feel old).

[RELATED: Dubon gets engaged at Disneyland Paris]

Five-time All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent also sported the number with San Francisco.

We shall see ... 

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler and Scott Harris both went through the same drill earlier this week, standing near the home dugout at Oracle Park as a team photographer grabbed shots from their first days on the job. Behind the two new members of the brain trust, construction workers continued the work that started last month.

The Giants plan to make an official announcement about the changing dimensions of their ballpark, and the new locations of the bullpen, soon, but those who attended the press conferences this week -- and a TopGolf event the park hosted last week -- got a sneak preview. 

A chunk of the bleacher seats in right center have already been ripped out to make room for the new bullpens, and some seats have also been taken out in left center to accommodate other changes to the ballpark. But team president and CEO Larry Baer said the changes won't be drastic for hitters. 

"Triples Alley will still be Triples Alley, just with some refinements," Baer said. 

The Giants are still figuring out some of the exact details, but they know the bullpens will be side-by-side in center and right center. The kale garden will remain, although it sounds like there will be some changes to the dimensions out there because the center-field wall is coming in about six feet, which should please hitters. 

The deepest part of the park -- the nemesis for Brandon Belt and other left-handed hitters -- is 421 feet and will ultimately be closer to 410 feet when the construction is done, the Giants think. The Giants put a bar underneath the new scoreboard last season and plan to have additional changes, including a terrace, out there this year, continuing a trend around the game -- seen across the bridge in Oakland -- of having more gathering spots for fans. 

[RELATED: What Kapler learned from Phillies tenure]

Even as they held two press conferences last week, the Giants remained coy about their exact plans for the dimensions, but they expect to take out about 400 seats.

Some of those may be made up for in other spots. There is a short wall separating the old bullpens from the first row of seats and about 80 feet of that wall has been taken down on both sides of the park, which would seem to indicate that the Giants are going to add some premium seating in some of that territory.