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. 

MLB rumors: Manny Machado, Padres agree to $300 million contract

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MLB rumors: Manny Machado, Padres agree to $300 million contract

Manny Machado has his new home. After spending 66 games with the Dodgers last season, he's reportedly staying in the NL West. 

Machado and the Padres have agreed to a record deal, according to multiple reports. Jeff Passan of ESPN was first to report the news. 

And the bank is officially open in San Diego. 

The Padres are signing Machado to a 10-year, $300 million contract, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. It's the biggest free agent contract in the history of American sports. 

Though the deal is for 10 years, Machado can opt out after five, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. 

Machado, 26, hit .297 with 37 home runs and 107 RBIs between the Orioles and Dodgers last season. He's a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner at third base, who can also play shortstop.

The news certainly isn't music to the Giants' ears. They faced Machado in six games last season on the Dodgers and had no such luck. He hit .391 with nine hits, four walks and five RBIs.

In nine career games at Oracle Park, he boasts a .317 average.

Now, they'll face Machado much more. The Giants play the Padres 19 times in 2019, and this isn't the same lowly team we've seen in recent seasons in San Diego. Machado is obviously the team's headliner as a superstar, but they also have the top farm system in baseball, led by shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. 

Perhaps the news will put pressure on the Giants to pony up for Bryce Harper. The team's two stars, Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, have both pushed for the team to sign Harper, and they certainly want to go out on a high note in manager Bruce Bochy's final season.

[RELATED: Brandon Crawford's wife wants Bryce Harper in San Francisco]

Manny has made his move. You're up, Bryce.

Bruce Bochy recounts his favorite memories from tenure as Giants manager

Bruce Bochy recounts his favorite memories from tenure as Giants manager

"Even though I'm retiring, I'm looking forward to one more shot."

The Giants' world was rocked Monday, when Bruce Bochy announced that this coming season would be his last as manager for San Francisco. It had been on Bochy's mind for some time, and he thought it best to have everyone on the same page heading into what will be his final season in the dugout.

"It was important for me to tell them that, and really to get it out," Bochy told NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez during an exclusive interview following his announcement. "So I could be honest with everybody and get it behind us and it wouldn't be a distraction for myself, Farhan (Zaidi), Larry (Baer), the team ... everybody. We can concentrate on baseball."

Suddenly, the 2019 season has taken on a whole new meaning for the Giants. Yes, a return to contention after the last two dismal years is certainly high on the list of goals. But now, each time they take the field, there's going to be an element of, 'Win one for the skipper' to it.

There are bound to be numerous pit stops along the way at which point Bochy will be honored for his vast contributions to the Giants franchise, including, of course, three World Series titles in a span of five years. Of the nine other former managers in MLB history to win at least three World Series titles, all of them are already in the Hall of Fame. Bochy will surely join them there.

[RELATED: Next stop, Cooperstown: Why Bochy is Baseball Hall lock]

But if it's up to Bochy, those in-season ceremonies will be kept to a minimum. "That's not what this is about," he told Gutierrez.

Whether or not he gets his wish remains to be seen. But no matter what, you can count on a whole lot of reminiscing over the next seven or eight months, depending on how successful Bochy's final season is.

Heck, it's already begun. In their conversation, Bochy was asked about his favorite memories as the Giants' skipper. One immediately came to mind, and for good reason.

"This one's probably pretty obvious, but when I handed the ball to my son coming out of the bullpen, that's a moment I'll never forget."

Outside of specific memories, a constant one that holds a special place in Bochy's heart is the endless support he's received from Giants fans over the last 12 seasons.

[RELATED: Giants' players determined to send Bochy out on high note]

"That was the one constant that I always had and the team always had over my tenure there," Bochy said, "is that they've always been there."

Bochy and the Giants plan to figure out a future role for him with the organization, so it's not as if he'll disappear from AT&...err....Oracle Park altogether. In fact, Bochy doesn't intend to go far at all.

"It's just amazing how well I've been treated up there," Bochy said of San Francisco, "and that's where I'm sure I'm going to end up making my home because that's home for me."