Giants

Source: Bryce Harper, Giants met this week in MLB free agency visit

Source: Bryce Harper, Giants met this week in MLB free agency visit

SAN FRANCISCO — Farhan Zaidi hinted last month that the Giants could get back in on some of the bigger free agents if prices continued to drop. They’re now targeting the biggest name still out there. 

Members of the Giants’ front office met with Bryce Harper this week in Las Vegas, multiple sources told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday.

The Giants sent Zaidi, CEO Larry Baer and manager Bruce Bochy to Las Vegas to meet Tuesday with Harper, his wife Kayla, and agent Scott Boras. Harper, one of the most accomplished free agents in MLB history, still has not found a home with less than a week until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

One source familiar with discussions said the chase was a “long shot,” but if the Giants have seriously entered the Harper market, they have done so at a time when the former National League MVP appears unhappy with his other options.

Harper reportedly turned down at least $300 million from the Nationals early in the offseason. That’s the type of deal the Giants would like to stay away from moving forward, but it’s also one they can afford, and that was the case even before Oracle promised hundreds of million for naming rights to the team’s ballpark.

The Giants have added just three free agents this offseason, and none were guaranteed even eight figures. Derek Holland, Drew Pomeranz and Pat Venditte add up to about one-third of what Harper would demand per season, but after the Pomeranz deal, Zaidi left the door open for bigger moves. 

“As the market evolves, there might be guys that you had kind of questioned or doubted the feasibility of at one point that you now circled back on,” Zaidi said last month. “It’s our job and responsibility to keep tabs on all parts of the market, and we’re continuing to do that. Yeah, I do think things can change and your target list evolves over the course of the offseason.”

The Giants had quietly targeted Harper over the past couple of years, but they underwent a shift in strategy when Zaidi was hired in November. The new plan was to overhaul the roster incrementally and add to the existing core, but Zaidi is known to be opportunistic, and if Harper’s price truly has dropped, the Giants could find a more suitable deal. Although they have been out of the headlines, they never eliminated Harper as an option. 

It’s unclear, of course, if the end price ultimately would be any lower than expected. Harper and Boras went into this offseason hoping to set records, but they have found a market lacking big-market suitors. The Phillies and the White Sox have been connected to Harper throughout the offseason, and at several points, it seemed he was close to joining Philadelphia, with the Nationals thought to be always on the periphery. 

The Padres were connected to Harper last week, and perhaps that helped jolt the Giants. Bigger spenders such as the Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs have shied away. 

Those three are all contenders and have filled their holes in other ways, while the Giants have taken a not-so-subtle step back, preparing to rebuild a bit. Still, even a partial rebuild could include a player like Harper.

[RELATED: How signing Bryce Harper would affect Giants payroll]

At 26, he is young enough to be part of the next contending Giants team, yet also accomplished enough that he would immediately become the lineup's best hitter. Even in what was considered a down year, Harper hit 34 homers in 2018. All of the outfielders currently on the Giants’ roster have combined for 20 career homers. 

Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media and Jon Heyman of MLB Network first connected Harper and the Giants on Wednesday morning. 

Giants' Mike Yastrzemski lives out boyhood dream of playing at Fenway Park

Giants' Mike Yastrzemski lives out boyhood dream of playing at Fenway Park

It's difficult to imagine Mike Yastrzemski's first visit to Fenway Park as a major league player going any better.

Not only have the Giants won each of the first two games of the series with the Red Sox, San Francisco's 29-year-old rookie outfielder also managed to hit a home run over the center-field wall in the first one, an act his grandfather Carl performed countless times all those years ago.

Hours before that special moment, Mike took a walk around the field at Fenway with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez, soaking in the environment in which he learned to love the game of baseball.

"A lot of memories being brought up coming back here," the younger Yastrzemski told Amy G. "Moments that I've had in the stands more than anything. The smell in the air and just the overall visuals of being 10 years old and falling love with baseball and seeing some really cool moments."

Being the grandson of one of the most revered players in Red Sox history had its benefits, no doubt, but it also couldn't have been easy growing up in such a large shadow. However, as Yastrzemski explained, he grew to appreciate that shadow, rather than feel compelled to make his own larger one.

"You grow up with it and you think there's pressure when you're young, but then when you understand the magnitude of the impact that he had on this city, I stopped feeling pressure and started feeling pride," he said. "You start to understand how much of an impact he had and the numbers that he put up and how essentially unattainable they are in today's game.

"There is no pressure. I get to do what I love because I fell in love with the same thing that he did."

As Yastrzemski and Amy G made their way around Fenway, they eventually came upon the famous Green Monster in left field. On the inside of the scoreboard -- an area Yastrzemski admitted he hadn't been in for close to 20 years -- they came across countless signatures all over the internal walls. Yastrzemski revealed that those walls were critical in his ascension to becoming a major league player.

"A staple of my life was baseball and this wall," he told Amy G, "and I felt like I kind of used it as a dream and ambition and a way to kind of push a little further than maybe I even should have."

All that pushing culminated in his first major league call-up at the ripe age of 29 years old. It might have taken longer than he would have preferred. But, Yastrzemski says he's better able to appreciate it now due to the long journey it took to get here.

[RELATED: Yaz to Yaz: Watch Giants rookie catch first pitch from Carl]

"When you're young and you get here, you might feel that pressure and say, 'You know, I have to perform to a certain extent or else I'm going to be back and forth for my whole career. I don't want to be that guy.' Whereas for me, I was looking at it as: I just want one day. And if I get one day to just sit in the dugout and put on the uniform, I'm good.

"Every single extra step is just one more thing that I get to say, 'Wow, that was really cool.'

Hitting a home run in your first game at your Hall of Fame grandfather's old home park? Now that's really cool.

Watch Bruce Bochy's speech to Giants, toast after historic 2,000th win

Watch Bruce Bochy's speech to Giants, toast after historic 2,000th win

Giants manager Bruce Bochy accomplished something Wednesday night at Fenway Park that only 10 others in baseball history had done before.

The 64-year-old won his 2,000th game as a big league manager thanks to San Francisco's 11-3 win over the Boston Red Sox, and celebrated with his club in the visiting clubhouse. Bochy's players and coaching staff toasted him with champagne, and then the veteran skipper thanked his team for helping him reach the milestone. 

Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto documented it all on Instagram, including Bochy's brief shower of bubbly.

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2000 Wins!!! 🎊🎉🎊🎊🍾🍾🍾

A post shared by Johnny Cueto (@johnnycueto47) on

"It's a number, and I don't know what the number means," Bochy told the Giants. "I think a couple things. I've been blessed to be doing this as long as I've been doing it, but it's a number that all of you are a part of, trust me. I'm riding the backs of you guys. I look at the support from ownership, the front office, the players, this coaching staff ... I can't thank you guys enough, and hopefully when you look at this number, you know you're part of it because you are. 

" ... I'm not going to get emotional here, but (2,000 wins) is not what was on my mind -- I swear to you -- this year. It was more us getting (to the playoffs) and for you guys to do what you did in July to get back into this thing and for this to happen, I can't thank you enough. Thank you."

[RELATED: Watch Giants rookie Yastrzemski catch first pitch from grandfather]

Bochy's players couldn't thank him enough, either. Catcher Stephen Vogt is in his first season with the Giants and his only one playing for Bochy, and he said the team's toast to the legendary manager was a fitting tribute. 

"This is something you want to do for a manager who's been around and given so much time to his players over the last 25 years," Vogt told reporters in Boston (H/T San Francisco Chronicle). "If you know anything about this game, it's every day. It's sacrifice. It's giving time away from your family in order to achieve greatness, and he's one of 11 at the top of the list. There's a lot more than just winning baseball games that went into tonight."