There will come a time when we focus all of our attention on the 2019 Phillies. But as the Phils plow through their exhibition schedule down in Clearwater, the city is still swallowing every little morsel of Bryce Harper content whole.
And on Tuesday, he gave everyone a plate full of content to consume.
In an interview with 94 WIP, Harper made it clear that one of the things he wants to do while he’s a Phillie is to help convince other stars of the game to play in Philadelphia.
Bryce Harper shook Major League Baseball to its core when he told us this earlierpic.twitter.com/RfIqqKgM1D— Jon Marks & Ike Reese on 94WIP (@MarksReeseWIP) March 5, 2019
“We’re gonna go about things the right way. We’re the Philadelphia Phillies and we want whoever wants to come to Philly. If you don’t want to come to Philly, then don’t come. Don’t be part of it. But if you want to be a part of a winning team and a winning culture, then we’re gonna need the best players to do that.
“I think it’s respecting Mike Trout in a certain way during the season and letting him play and do the things he needs to do to, of course, be Mike Trout. But if you don’t think I’m not going to call Mike Trout in 2020 and have him come to Philly, you’re crazy.”
Clearly developed a rapport during the off-season when The thought of adding Trout to a team that will hopefully still have a core of Harper, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, Aaron Nola and others by 2021 is too amazing to even comprehend. But as was noted last weekend, Harper’s $25+ million dollar AAV gives the Phils the flexibility to remain active in future free agent markets.
How potent would an outfield like that be?
Only six players have posted seasons of 10+ WAR since 2000: Barry Bonds and Mike Trout (both did it 3 times!!!), Mookie Betts (2018), Sammy Sosa (2001), Alex Rodriguez (2000), and Harper (2015). Two of them could be playing in the same outfield in two years.
Obviously, this is contingent on Trout not signing a contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels, who reportedly considered offering him a 10-year, $350 million offer. While that would certainly give him the richest contract in American sports history, it’s almost definitely not enough to get Trout to bite now. Trout has seven All-Star seasons under his belt in which he’s been the undisputed best player in the game, and he has played in just one postseason series, a three-game sweep in 2014 at the hands of the Kansas City Royals in which he went 1-for-12, with a homer.
Trout wants to play for a winner, and it’s unlikely the Angels will be World Series contenders anytime soon. Trout clearly loves his home city and comes back often for Eagles and Sixers games. No, that doesn’t guarantee he’ll come to Philly to play for his old favorite baseball team, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
Major League Baseball will like warn and potentially a fine Harper over his comments, as players are not supposed to openly solicit other players to play with them while they’re under contract with a different team. That’s tampering. So no doubt, some of that $20 million signing bonus Harper inked last week will be heading to Rob Manfred’s desk.
Nevertheless, the message is clear: an outfield of Harper and Trout is not out of the realm of possibility. In fact, imagining Trout in a Phillies uniform has never felt like a more realistic scenario.
Folks, Bryce Harper is on the case.
***UPDATE: Harper says a member of the Phillies has spoken to him about his comments***