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Report: Bryce Harper, Giants meet this week amid MLB free agency uncertainty

Report: Bryce Harper, Giants meet this week amid MLB free agency uncertainty

Amid ongoing free agency uncertainty comes one more team to the Bryce Harper mix: According to a report from NBC Sports Bay Area, members of the San Francisco Giants’ front office met with Bryce Harper this week in Las Vegas.

The Giants sent Farhan Zaidi, their president of baseball operations, CEO Larry Baer and manager Bruce Bochy to Las Vegas to meet Tuesday with Harper, his wife Kayla, and agent Scott Boras, according to the report.

Harper has not announced his home for the 2019 season with less than a week until pitchers and catchers report for spring training. He reportedly turned down at least $300 million from the Nationals earlier this year.

One source familiar with discussions said the chase for Harper was a “long shot." From NBC Sports Bay Area:

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. 

Harper has also been connected to the Phillies and Padres and a return to the Nationals in the past month. 

Read more at NBC Sports Bay Area.

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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says season would be 60 games, 'no matter how negotiations went'

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says season would be 60 games, 'no matter how negotiations went'

Baseball is roughly three weeks away from returning to our lives and as everyone involved gears up for a 60-game sprint, the fallout from the league's failed negotiations continues. 

Commissioner Rob Manfred recently went on The Dan Patrick show to discuss the upcoming season as well as the challenges that came from a process that included so many offers and counteroffers. In one answer, he revealed the end result was inevitable. 

"The reality is, we weren't going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went or any other factor," Manfred said. "60 games is the outside of the envelope given the realities of the virus."

Considering negotiations went on for a grueling three months, these comments should make baseball fans feel terrific. They serve as another example at just how far apart the two sides were on a deal to resume play. 

"It's the calendar," he said. "We're playing 60 games in 63 days right now. I don't see given the reality of the health situation over the past few weeks, how we were going to get going any faster than the calendar we're on right now no matter what the state of those negotiations were."

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It's hard to ignore the players' refusal to accept further pay-cuts beyond their prorated salaries based on the number of games played as a potential factor in the shorter schedule. The union's offers routinely included schedules around 80-100 games, while the owners reportedly went as low as 50 games at one point during the talks. 

However, due to the expected resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, it became paramount to get the season completed as soon as possible. Neither side could come to an agreement, so Manfred had to impose a 60-game season. 

RELATED: SCHERZER TALKS 'UGLY' NEGOTIATIONS WITH MLB

"We did get a suboptimal result from the negotiations in some ways," he said. "The fans aren't going to get an expanded postseason, which I think would've been good with the shortened season, and the players left some real money on the table. They left $25 million worth of playoff pools, $33 million worth of salary advancement, but that's what happens when you have a negotiation that instead of being collaborative, gets into a conflict situation." 

Supposedly the bright side in all this is we get baseball back, even if it's in a short season. The bad news? The relationship between the owners and players doesn't appear to be strong as we approach and new CBA in 2021.

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Report: Max Scherzer among star MLB players who held secret Florida practices

Report: Max Scherzer among star MLB players who held secret Florida practices

As the coronavirus pandemic put the MLB season on hold and tensions grew between the owners and players union, it became increasingly clear that it was going to take a while before baseball returns. So in order to stay in shape, a group of MLB players that included Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Giancarlo Stanton and Paul Goldschmidt got together with a trainer in Florida and began holding secret practice.

The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reported Thursday that a group of more than 30 major leaguers banded together in Palm Beach and practiced together before holding a pair of sandlot games in June that would’ve been as competitive as any All-Star Game.

Players got their first taste of playing while practicing social distancing, frequently changing out balls and banning sliding into bases. The mastermind behind the plan was New York Yankees trainer Eric Cressey, who compared the practices to “Fight Club” and said some players called it “prohibition baseball.”

RELATED: MAX SCHERZER TALKS 'UGLY' NEGOTIATIONS AND 'CRAZY' MLB SEASON AHEAD

Nationals starters Austin Voth and Kyle McGowin joined Scherzer as the Nationals’ representatives in a a group that also reportedly included Corey Kluber, Noah Syndergaard (recovering from Tommy John), Logan Morrison, Luke Jackson, Richard Bleier, Robert Gsellman, Michael Wacha, Jesús Luzardo and Brad Hand. Even NFL players such as Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett and free agent punter Matt Bosher were at the facility.

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Scherzer, who was living with his own personal bullpen catcher in Orioles backstop Bryan Holaday, kept busy as a member of the eight-player MLBPA executive subcommittee. He reported to Nationals Park on Wednesday before the start of Spring Training 2.0—or Summer Camp, as some have called it.

The season is set to begin July 23-24, with the Nationals reportedly facing the New York Yankees on Opening Day in a game that would pit Scherzer against $324 million man Gerrit Cole.

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