We’re into week two of spring training, and free agent Bryce Harper still hasn’t been able to pull the trigger and decide where he’s headed when the regular Major League Baseball season kicks off in less than a month. And while there is plenty of activity going on behind closed doors, the outfielder and his agent, Scott Boras, are keeping the details of who’s in, who’s out, and how much is on the table to themselves.
What we do know is that the Washington Nationals, Harper’s former team, is out of the running after he turned down a 10-year, $300 million deal with them last year. The Chicago White Sox have also said they are out.
Over the weekend, Harper met with Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton in his Las Vegas home, and the Los Angeles Dodges made a surprise reappearance in the mix on Sunday as well.
The other two sides reportedly still in the running are the San Diego Padres, who may have to dig really deep to come up with the kind of cash Harper is looking for after signing Manny Machado last week, and the San Francisco Giants. It would seem, however, that Dieter Kurtenbach, a sports columnist for the Mercury News, is not all that interested in the Giants’ bid, according to Northwest Georgia News.
On Wednesday, The Inquisitr reported that the Giants have had a second meeting with Harper in an attempt to lure him to San Francisco.
“There’s only one question to ask when it comes to the Giants’ role in the Bryce Harper free agency saga: Are they players, or are they being played?” Kurtenbach wrote.
— Bleacher Report MLB (@BR_MLB) February 27, 2019
It has long been suggested that the Phillies are the favorite to get Harper to put pen to paper, but for one factor: The distance between the Pennsylvania city and Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas. Kurtenbach, however, feels that the Dodgers, however late to the party, might be his first choice.
To Kurtenbach, the fact that the Giants are still trying to force their way into the mix makes absolutely no sense from a management perspective.
“Such a pursuit would be completely incongruent with the vision [new president of operations Farhan] Zaidi laid out when he was hired — one that valued rational, methodical decisions and prudent spending,” he explained.
With Harper making it clear he’s looking for not only a long-term but also a record breaking deal in the monetary department, the team that secures him won’t exactly be able to boast about “prudent spending.”
“Guys like Zaidi have taken over baseball, and they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that 10-year, $350-million contracts — the kind the Giants, Phillies, and possibly Dodgers are reportedly discussing with Harper — is bad business for teams.”
Aside from the monetary factor, Kurtenbach points out that the Giants are busy rebuilding, and no amount of money — or brilliant outfielders — is going to fix their current problems. For someone of Harper’s caliber and fighting form, he’ll likely want to sign with a team that is proving as successful as he is, where he will be able to thrive.
As far as Kurtenbach is concerned, the Giants’ continued pursuit of Harper shows just one thing: They reek of desperation, and have no idea what else to do.
“The only way a signing him makes any sense for the Giants is if ownership is in a state of panic in an effort to keep up with the Joneses, both in their division (the Padres and Rockies just handed out $300 million, with the Dodgers poised to do the same for Harper), and their backyard.”