Bryce Harper Just Bad Business for San Francisco Giants

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 23: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals warms up on the on-deck circle before hitting in the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on April 23, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 23: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals warms up on the on-deck circle before hitting in the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on April 23, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants avoid a potential disaster in chasing Bryce Harper as a deal would only fuel pressure for Farhan Zaidi to keep the club as contenders for a lengthy period.

After a bizarre offseason of free agency, the San Francisco Giants end up falling short of landing baseball’s top free agent. Bryce Harper would have added the much-needed offensive boost and a strong outfielder the Giants did not have since Barry Bonds left. Now, health remains the priority during spring training.

Harper’s signing ends a strange tale of the generational player waiting out the process over the offseason. Plenty of suitors coveted the abilities of Harper including the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. The Phillies appeared to be the front runners, and their pursuit finally paid off.

Ultimately, the native of Las Vegas wanted to sign a lucrative long-term deal. The Dodgers reportedly wanted Harper on a short-term deal. The Giants did the same in which Harper had no interest in taking a shorter term.

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As the drama between Harper and Manny Machado unfolded, the optimism of the Giants making a splash grew as the two players made no decisions on their destinations. Machado’s saga came to an end after agreeing with the San Diego Padres, a team still a few years off from contending.

With advanced analytics and statistics becoming entrenched with personnel decisions, Harper signing with spring training underway is no surprise. The trajectory of Harper’s production made front offices cautious of making a concrete offer.

But the Giants are no strangers to forking out the big bucks to star players. With Bonds, the team dramatically improved with chances to make a postseason run. Bonds put on a display at the plate but never won the World Series. Given the current players on the roster, Harper could have undoubtedly gotten the Giants back into contention.

Harper reportedly agreed to a 13-year contract worth $330 million. His contract breaks Giancarlo Stanton’s contract extension he signed in Miami ($325 million) before being traded to the New York Yankees. The Giants made a pitch last offseason to Stanton after an initial trade agreement with the Marlins, but Stanton opted not to waive his no-trade clause.

Credit does go to the Giants front office for remaining optimistic in their pursuit. Harper is without a doubt a high-risk, high-reward player. Before the offseason began, a deal to land a big-time player appeared unlikely with Zaidi being announced as president of baseball operations.

Harper’s deal also includes no opting out, a sticking point in which the Giants were unlikely going to make. Ten-plus years is significant in which supposedly the Giants offered (12 years) but California’s high tax rate, compared to Pennsylvania’s, meant more money needed to be offered. A move that is not worth taking the gamble.

Philosophical differences could have made way for a rocky relationship between front office executives and Zaidi. Challenges for Zaidi to implement the changes in rebuilding and enact his strategies could likely have posed problems in staying competitive.

The farm system remains one major problem for the Giants. Small deals are being made to restock the minor league system, but the process is ongoing. Joey Bart is the only prospect likely to see time in San Francisco. He is off to solid start in spring training but will likely get more seasoning in the minors.

As Zaidi stated, the Giants have a lineup of players with a winning attitude and could win another championship. Complementary players are needed for the orange and black to get back to the postseason. Harper is no complementary player, but a cornerstone piece to the franchise had he chosen San Francisco.

Age remains the issue on a team struggling to find consistent offense and have a healthy starting rotation of pitchers. Zaidi must make due diligence, and the front office to avoid any impulse buys which have cash-strapped the team (Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Mark Melancon).

All three deals are poor decisions of throwing cash at players in reaction to the teams in the NL West making moves over the past years. The three pitchers have fallen below expectations and must redeem themselves this year. Under Zaidi, these deals will unlikely happen under his tenure.

For a team wanting to succeed in the future, Baer must put his complete faith now in Zaidi. With money still in the bank, Baer must trust Zaidi will choose the right players that will make fans want to come to Oracle Park, not just for the new scoreboard in center field.

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In short, Harper was bad business for the Giants and not worth spending the money on a player who ultimately may not deliver. Giants’ fans should breathe a sigh of relief he did not choose Los Angeles.