NEW YORK - The latest team to join the Bryce Harper sweepstakes is the San Francisco Giants, according to a multiple reports on Wednesday.
Highly sought free agent outfielder reportedly met with Giants executives this week, putting San Francisco in the mix with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals.
Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations, attended the meeting with manager Bruce Bochy and club president Larry Baer, according to the reports. Per ESPN, the gathering occurred Tuesday in Las Vegas.
After struggling the last two seasons, managing just 73 wins in 2018 and 64 in 2017, the Giants may not be considered a strong fit for Harper, who is looking to play for a pennant contender.
Yet San Francisco ranks among the top five in baseball in revenue and has committed to players such as Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto, Evan Longoria and Jeff Samardzija.
The Giants also need to fill a couple of holes in the outfield, with center fielder Steven Duggar the only player considered to be a nearly certain starter.
Scott Boras, the agent for Harper, told the San Francisco Chronicle during the general manager meetings in early November that the Giants are a “perfect fit” for his client.
“I think he likes the absolute feel of the ballpark and the fans,” Boras said then. “It’s a great fan base. You know you’re at a ballgame, and he loves the enthusiasm and their success.”
At the GM meetings, Boras heaped more praise on the Giants, saying, “They have a successful model,” “and I always tell Larry (Baer), ‘This fan base has rewarded you. You’ve got a stadium that’s paid for. You’ve got a rocket ship of a financial model.’
“So the Giants should be successful every year and can use free agency, trades and development in a way that allows them to compete. No different than the major market franchises because they are one.”
Harper, 26, has made six All-Star teams in his seven major league seasons, all with the Washington Nationals. He was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 2015 when he posted career highs with 42 homers, a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage — all league-best totals.
Last season, he slumped to a career-worst .249 average with a .393 on-base percentage, a .496 slugging percentage, 34 homers and a career-best 100 RBIs.