A new report from The Mercury News suggests that the San Francisco Giants flew to Bryce Harper's hometown of Las Vegas on Tuesday, marking the second time the team has met with the free agent outfielder in the last few weeks.
Citing multiple unnamed sources familiar with the situation, The Mercury News reported on Wednesday that Giants CEO Larry Baer and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi were in Las Vegas the day prior, where they conducted talks with Harper and his agent, Scott Boras. Manager Bruce Bochy, who was present at the initial meeting early this month, reportedly did not join Baer and Zaidi for the new round of discussions.
Details on the second meeting were scant, but The Mercury News noted that the Giants have extended one contract offer to Harper thus far. The specifics of the offer were not mentioned by the outlet.
With this new development, the San Francisco Giants are now the third team in less than a week to fly to Harper's hometown in hopes of signing him to a contract and ending his free agency saga. After Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas on Friday to negotiate with Harper and Boras, the Los Angeles Dodgers followed suit on Sunday, with manager Dave Roberts telling reporters that the team was "doing due diligence" at that time.
While the Phillies have been, in recent weeks, the generally accepted favorite to sign Bryce Harper, recent developments have suggested that other teams, particularly the Dodgers, might also have a fighting chance to land him. Citing a tweet from MLB Network's Jon Heyman, The Sporting News reported that the Phillies are now "concerned" that the six-time All-Star will join the Dodgers if they make a similar offer, given how Los Angeles is much closer to Las Vegas than Philadelphia.As for the Dodgers, The Mercury News noted that the team might be more determined than ever to land Bryce Harper after Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million extension on Tuesday. The publication noted that the Dodgers, who said earlier in the offseason that they had no plans to sign Harper, were reportedly hoping that they could sign the Southern California native Arenado as a free agent in the coming offseason.
At the moment, it's still unclear how Harper's second meeting with the Giants will influence his chances of inking a deal with the club. In a separate report, NBC Sports Bay Area pointed out that San Francisco has generally preferred offering shorter contracts, but might have changed course following Manny Machado's decision last week to sign a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres. Per the outlet's sources, the Giants now appear to be "under the belief that nothing under that will get it done," especially now that Arenado has the highest-ever annual salary in MLB history at $32.5 million per year.