The San Francisco Giants haven’t had a star power hitter since Barry Bonds ruled Major League Baseball. With news of the Giants having heavy interest in slugger Bryce Harper, the question being posed is simple? What type of contract should the Giants offer, and will Harper accept it?
President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi has made it clear he doesn’t want to give Harper a 10 year contract. This is the correct philosophy. The history of 10 year contracts working is nonexistent, because they don’t work. Instead of 10 years it will probably more in the 5-7 year range. The Giants would be smart to offer Harper 7 years at over 35 million per year and see what he says.
Recent news from his agent Scott Boras is that Harper wants long term security and not a short term contract. This could be legit or a negotiation tactic. We still don’t know what the Giants offered Harper. If they offered him a 5 year deal it would make sense for Boras to get at least another 2 years. Also, Boras was very clear he wants Harper to be the highest paid player in baseball, which would means Harper gets 10 years and and over 30 million per year. That number seems outrageous, but Boras usually gets what he wants in negotiations.
Harper is the type of player you either believe in or you don’t. If the Giants feel he’s worth the money than they should offer it, or if they don’t feel like he’s worth a 10 year contract they should pull out of the pursuit.
It’s hard to know what Harper wants at this point. Philadelphia would give him an opportunity to hit 40 home runs every season and be a part of an up and coming young team, but living in Philadelphia is not as nice as living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Harper has been very complementary of San Francisco for most of his professional career based upon Instagram pictures and interviews. Harper might also view the Giants as a better organization since they have accomplished more than Phillies in recent years and will provide him with the necessary tools to be a legend.
Seeing the Giants make a run at Harper is interesting considering Zaidi track record. When he arrived in San Francisco he didn’t give off the impression he was interested in making a splashy free agent signing, but it’s possible Larry Baer and Giants ownership are looking at Harper as more of a business venture.
The Giants television ratings dropped significantly last season, young fans are moving to the NBA and leaving baseball behind. Of course, a drop in T.V ratings leads to Oracle Park not being filled up. When the fans aren’t watching and buying as many tickets ownership gets anxious. Baer and his business partners understand Harper will at the very least put fans back in the stadium because he would be the best player the Giants have had since Bonds.
Though, the business aspect is a major reason why Harper is a big time draw, he also fits from a baseball standpoint.
The Giants outfield is filled with question marks. Inserting Harper into right field allows the Giants to play Stephen Duggar in center field and then platoon in left if they choose to. Second, Buster Posey has never had a true power hitter behind him in the batting order. Having Harper behind Posey will allow him to get pitches to hit because teams don’t want to face Harper with guys on base. Finally, the Giants biggest weakness has been lack of power, Harper fixes that problem. Even if his power numbers decrease playing at Oracle Park he will still be the big bat in the lineup who makes it easier on everyone else.
Adding Harper will put fans in the seats, take the stress off the other Giants players, and provide the same level of excitement around the ballpark as when Bonds was in his peak. Of course, Harper will have to perform where ever he goes. With big contracts come big expectations, so Harper knows he has to perform. This is the final reason Harper might choose the Giants over the Phillies. Philly fans and media are much more ruthless in their criticism than Giants fans and media. Harper might want to live in an environment where his every move isn’t scrutinized.
Like Giancarlo Stanton last season, it’s still unlikely Harper ends up in San Francisco, but at the very least ownership are able to peak the fans interest over whether or not he will come. The Giants are a team stuck in limbo, they don’t have enough players to really be a contender, but they also don’t want to tear down and rebuild while they still have Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Like last year, shooting for the stars is the only way the Giants can play this and the star is Harper.