Gi­ants make ap­peal to front of­fice: Add more tal­ent

Marysville Appeal-Democrat - - SPORTS - By Kerry Crow­ley The Mer­cury News (TNS)

SAN FRAN­CISCO – The fran­chise’s fans spent Satur­day’s Fanfest ask­ing if the 2019 ros­ter will in­clude new names in the near fu­ture. So too did many of the Gi­ants’ key play­ers. “With some op­por­tu­ni­ties out there to add a cou­ple of more guys and see­ing what’s go­ing on within the di­vi­sion, I think it would be smart to pounce right now,” pitcher Jeff Sa­mardz­ija said.

Pitch­ers and catch­ers re­port to the team’s Ari­zona com­plex Tues­day, but more than 80 free agents in­clud­ing star out­fielder Bryce Harper re­main avail­able. New pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions Farhan Zaidi has ex-

pressed a de­sire to add tal­ent in the out­field, but many Gi­ants veter­ans hope they won’t have to wait much longer for their front of­fice to set­tle on its plans.

“There are still some re­ally big pieces out there,” third base­man Evan Lon­go­ria said. “I know that Farhan and (Bruce Bochy) and the front of­fice is look­ing and hop­ing to add some more to our club. So there’s, I think, still some big moves to be made.”

Harper has at­tracted sev­eral dif­fer­ent suit­ors this off­sea­son, but the Gi­ants are mak­ing a se­ri­ous push to ac­quire the six-time All-star. The club needs youth, ath­leti­cism and power, and at 26, Harper rep­re­sents the to­tal pack­age. Catcher Buster Posey asked “What team wouldn’t want Bryce Harper?” while cen­ter fielder Steven Dug­gar said, “It would be fun to play with him, that’s for sure.”

Even CEO Larry Baer spoke about Harper dur­ing a Q&A ses­sion at Satur­day’s Fanfest, not­ing that a sched­uled two-hour meet­ing with the out­fielder and agent Scott Bo­ras

lasted four hours on Mon­day in Las Ve­gas.

“I don’t know where we are (with Harper), but we’re giv­ing it a shot,” Baer said. “That’s all we can do.”

Though the Gi­ants may not be the front-run­ners to sign a free agent who could com­mand north of $30 mil­lion an­nu­ally, they’ve emerged as late con­tenders in the Harper sweep­stakes. While some play­ers aren’t sure what to make of the team’s in­ter­est, most are ea­ger to have a player of Harper’s cal­iber on board.

“Ob­vi­ously you want to im­prove your team and you’ll al­ways take a Bryce Harper on your team,” Sa­mardz­ija said. “Al­ways, 100 per­cent.”

The fact that Harper, 26-year-old short­stop Manny Machado and sev­eral other high-pro­file free agents like starter Dal­las Keuchel and closer Craig Kim­brel re­main un­signed is alarm­ing, and not just for the Gi­ants. Though San Fran­cisco has a re­cent track record of an­nu­ally post­ing one of base­ball’s big­gest pay­rolls, play­ers like Lon­go­ria and Posey are con­cerned that other fran­chises aren’t fo­cused

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