The big news last week was the Phillies landing right fielder Bryce Harper on a record . Over the weekend, Harper was introduced, officially, with the Phillies. Among his many comments, let's take note in particular his mention about Angels superstar Mike Trout.
"I talked to him a lot," Harper said of Trout to MLB.com. "From November all the way through the process."
Why? Well, Trout is from Millville, N.J., which is roughly an hour drive away from Philadelphia and he's a big Eagles fan. It appears Harper wanted to get Trout's sense of the city as a sports town.
"Just seeing where he grew up in Philly, things like that," Harper said. "I played with him in the [Arizona] Fall League, and we've kept in contact over the last seven years. But just trying to get a hometown kid to tell me what he felt, how he felt about the organization and the area and things like that. He's a kid who grew up seeing the Phillies have success, so going through those times with the fans and things like that. It was good to get his perspective and hear how he felt."
Trout is two years away from free agency and recently fielded questions about possibly heading to Philadelphia.. He better get that "no comment" down pat, because the questions aren't going away without .
An interesting note on Harper's contract while we're here. He's making less than $26 million per year. While his full contract is huge, the average annual value isn't even in the top 10 in the majors right now. It leaves the Phillies wiggle room. Harper even mentioned as much, with a nice insinuation to Trout:
"I'm making $26 [million] a year, something like that, so I think that's going to be able to bring some other guys in as well to be able to help this organization win. I know there's another guy in about two years that comes off the books. We'll see what happens with him."
He got a bit more bold when visiting the Phillies radio booth during a spring training game on Tuesday:
Bryce Harper: "If you don't think I'm gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you're crazy." 👏👏👏— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) March 5, 2019
OK, so that'll get Harper a call from the MLB offices regarding tampering, but I doubt he cares. He can afford the fine. Much more importantly here is that this seems like an NBA-type courtship and that raises intrigue not only in the offseasons but in the seasons leading up to free agency for special players.
Imagining a Harper and Trout outfield is pretty fun, especially so for Phillies fans, I'm sure.
As things stand, the Phillies are committed to just $91.2 million in salary for the 2021 season. If Trout wants the Phillies and they want him, there's room to add him come the time. It sure sounds like Harper will do what he can as well.