MLB Free Agency

MLB rumors: Giants target Carlos Gonzalez, Indians 'close' on contract

cargoindiansusatsi.jpg
USATSI

MLB rumors: Giants target Carlos Gonzalez, Indians 'close' on contract

Carlos Gonzalez might have been a fit with the Giants, but he's not coming to San Francisco.

The free-agent outfielder is "close to a deal" with the Cleveland Indians, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Saturday.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that Gonzalez will receive a minor league contract from Cleveland.

Gonzalez's agent, Scott Boras, revealed last week that he had spoken to Farhan Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operations, about the 33-year-old.

"He has an .800 OPS and the best defensive player in right field, and I can tell you, he can substantially help the Giants and many other teams," Boras said on KNBR 680 at the time.

As NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic wrote, it appears the Giants' opening day outfield will consist of Mac Williamson, Steven Duggar and Gerardo Parra. Cameron Maybin, Austin Slater and Drew Ferguson also are in the mix, while prospect Chris Shaw will start the season in the minor leagues.

So, it appears Boras didn't do a good enough job convincing Zaidi that Gonzalez could help the Giants.

Carlos Gonzalez to Giants? Farhan Zaidi, Scott Boras have discussed it

cargorockiesgiantsusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Carlos Gonzalez to Giants? Farhan Zaidi, Scott Boras have discussed it

The Giants missed out on Bryce Harper, but agent Scott Boras has another veteran outfielder he believes would fit in San Francisco.

That player? Former Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez.

"[President of baseball operations] Farhan [Zaidi] and I discussed him, and they are looking into it, yeah," Boras said Thursday on KNBR 680.

The 33-year-old is a three-time All-Star, but is coming off two subpar seasons. In 2018, Gonzalez hit .276/.329/.796 with 32 doubles, 14 home runs and 64 RBI. At his best, Gonzalez hit 40 home runs in 2015 and drove in 117 runs in 2010.

Boras offered a long-winded answer on why numerous veteran players remain unsigned, and linked Gonzalez to the Giants.

"He has an .800 OPS and the best defensive player in right field, and I can tell you, he can substantially help the Giants and many other teams," Boras said. "They won't employ them, and the reason they won't employ them, I think has to do with the fact of mere budgetary concerns and to put players out there that are of lesser quality and ability. And I don't think there's a justification for it because the major leagues should always be about the best players."

Gonzalez certainly is not the player he was in his early 20s. But he would be a good option in right field where Austin Slater, Gerardo Parra, Mac Williamson and several non-roster invitees are competing for playing time.

[RELATED: California taxes factored into Harper's decision]

After finishing a seven-year, $80 million contract in 2017, Gonzalez got $5 million for the 2018 season from the Rockies, so his price tag for 2019 might not be that high.

Stay tuned to see if Zaidi circles back to Gonzalez as opening day draws closer.

Giants missed on Bryce Harper, so what now? Here's Farhan Zaidi's plan

Giants missed on Bryce Harper, so what now? Here's Farhan Zaidi's plan

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The splash of cold water came at 12:50 p.m. Thursday in the form of a tweet from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

Bryce Harper had chosen the Philadelphia Phillies.

It had been an optimistic morning at Scottsdale Stadium. Some in a bustling Giants spring training clubhouse smiled as they discussed the possibility of adding Harper’s thunderous bat to the lineup. Would he bat third? Fourth? How would the other dominos fall?

Quietly, the Giants had started to prepare for the possibility that Harper would arrive this weekend. They already knew where they would put his spring locker.

Then came the tweet, a flood of others giving terms of the contract, and the realization that Harper will not wear orange and black, despite the fact that ownership signed off on what would have been a record 12-year, $310 million contract.

The chase -- or nightmare, depending on your perspective -- was over, and the Giants were left wondering where they go from here.

The answer is a simple one: Exactly where we thought they would go all along, before word leaked three weeks ago that Giants CEO Larry Baer, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy had boarded a flight to Las Vegas. Before Baer and Zaidi returned to Harper’s hometown Tuesday. Before an offer was made.

The Giants did not bring in Zaidi to hand out 12-year deals. He has talked of building incrementally, supplementing the core, turning around a farm system that has stopped delivering stars, reloading internationally, and finding hidden gems as he did in Los Angeles. That still can be the model, and it's the way the Giants have operated for 99 percent of their offseason.

As the Giants formulated a plan of attack with Harper, Zaidi kept tinkering. He added Gerardo Parra and Yangervis Solarte, two veterans who already have won over teammates. He built catching depth behind Buster Posey, but Posey’s teammates are optimistic that it won’t be needed. The feeling in the clubhouse is that Posey, healthy and spry this month, is poised for a big season.

Zaidi built rotation depth and held on to his bullpen pieces. The Giants believe they have the pitching to be competitive, led by Madison Bumgarner, who feels great physically and seems to have a chip on his shoulder.

The whole team does, really.

“I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” first baseman Brandon Belt said Thursday.

Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. The Giants are much deeper than they were a year ago, but they’re also lacking a star in the middle of the lineup.

They tried hard for Giancarlo Stanton last year and were told he wanted to go elsewhere. They tried hard for Harper, but the price got too high. Nolan Arenado would have been a target, and like with Harper, the Giants had been told that the Rockies star loves San Francisco and would enjoy playing for the organization. But he signed a long-term contract extension and won’t hit the market.

This stretch has made it abundantly clear that the Giants will not be able to count on signing their next star. They’ll have to develop, as they did with Posey, Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford and others.

But that was their plan all along.

[RELATED: Bochy disappointed but ready to move on without Harper]

The Giants have not used the word “rebuild” and they won’t, because it’s not good business but also because they brought in Zaidi to wear two hats. He had a plan to make the 2019 team more interesting and try to get the Giants back into a spot where September games matter, but he also is building long-term, overhauling the organization one minor move at a time.

The Giants will try to compete with a roster that has been subtly upgraded, and if they can’t, Zaidi will sell at the trade deadline and reload for future years. That’s where the Giants go from here. That’s where they’ve been headed since they fired their previous general manager.

We all just took a wild detour for a few weeks.