Zaidi: 'Mutual interest' between Giants, Harper

February 8th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi would prefer to stay mum when it comes to his forays into the free-agent market, but he realized there was no use in attempting to obscure the club's meeting with superstar in Las Vegas earlier this week.
"It's kind of hard to deny it when your CEO gets made in the casino," Zaidi said Friday.
Zaidi was alluding to a photo a Giants fan snapped with team president and CEO Larry Baer at the Bellagio, which proved to be the first indication that the team's executives were in town for a meeting with Harper.
"There is obviously mutual interest on both sides," Zaidi said. "We thought it made sense to get together. We had a good conversation over a few hours. He's obviously got a lot of suitors and a lot of interest. He's going to have some decisions to make. I think it's fair to say that was an expression of our interest level, to make the trip out there to meet with him.
"You don't make a trip out there to meet with a player just for show."

Zaidi wouldn't say if the Giants have made a formal offer, though the club has the financial resources to woo Harper, who reportedly turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Nationals in September.
"We're kind of taking these individual baseball decisions one by one," Zaidi said. "There are circumstances that you might be more flexible for and circumstances that more have to fall within the broader framework that you've set out for. Anytime you're talking about making a major addition that's going to be a significant financial commitment, you may have to rework your plan a little, but we're not operating with hard and fast rules. I've been told that we just need to make good baseball decisions."
Harper's interest in San Francisco certainly excited Giants players, many of whom are in the Bay Area for Saturday's FanFest at Oracle Park.
"You can't tell me your team isn't going to be better off with Bryce Harper," right-hander said. "I'm all for it. I'm all for adding talent. I'm the No. 1 advocate to adding big-name, big-price talent to your team. It makes you better. Period."

The Harper sweepstakes could reach a conclusion soon. With Spring Training less than a week away, Zaidi said he got the sense Harper would prefer to settle on a landing spot sooner rather than later.
"I certainly think so, but again, it's got to be a decision that he's comfortable with in all aspects," Zaidi said. "I think for any player, when you're going through free agency, you'd love to be with a new team when camp opens, be around your teammates, familiarize yourself. But there are plenty of players in the past that continued these kinds of conversations into camp. I don't think they have any sort of deadline. I think any free agent would prefer to be in camp with the rest of their teammates."