© Sergio Estrada | 2019 Aug 11
One of the most talked about topics this past MLB offseason was where Bryce Harper would wind up signing. The Giants were heavily involved in those discussions. Harper ultimately chose to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies and this past weekend marked the first time the slugger played at Oracle Park since turning down the Giants $300 million + deal.
Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic joined the Murph and Mac show on KNBR 680 on Monday morning and discussed how the failed pursuit of Harper may have led to the Giants seriously thinking about reconfiguring Oracle Park.
“As much as Bryce Harper says nice things about San Francisco, I don’t think he wanted to play in the ballpark.” Baggarly said. “I think the bullpen mounds were an issue too.
“I think a lot of what they’re talking about now with changing the ballpark, changing the dimensions, has to do with part of what they heard in the Harper presentation. Realizing that is something that will keep them from being competitive in signing position player free agents.”
Oracle Park is considered to be one of the hardest stadiums in the MLB to hit in, with ‘triples alley’ being a whopping 421 feet. The bullpens, which are down both foul lines, have drawn some controversy recently and are somewhat of a safety hazard for outfielders as they go after foul balls.
There is speculation that the Giants will put the bullpens where ‘triples alley’ is before next season, making Oracle Park more hitter friendly while also cutting down the chance of injuries.
Although San Francisco was unsuccessful in their pursuit of Harper, Baggarly suspects it could end up being a blessing in disguise for the franchise.
“Do you think they dodged a bullet in not giving Bryce Harper $350 million? Yeah, I think they did. I think they dodged a bullet by not getting Giancarlo Stanton a year before that. Because if they had signed Harper, I don’t think there is anyway that they would be talking about possibly extending Madison Bumgarner.”
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Baggarly on Harper, start from 7:45