The Los Angeles Angels won’t just let the links between their All-Star center fielder, Mike Trout, and the Philadelphia Phillies go unpunished.
At least, that’s what they’re trying to do.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on Wednesday that the Angels have reached out to Major League Baseball about whether the Phillies and their new signing, Bryce Harper, are tampering in an attempt to help coax Trout into joining Philadelphia in two years. A decision has not been reached as of yet.
The 26-year-old Harper has not even been an official Phillie for a week after the organization announced last Friday that they signed the six-time All-Star to a record-breaking 13-year, $330 million contract. Yet the recruitment has already begun.
Harper made headlines on Tuesday when he addressed the possibility of teaming up with Trout down the line.
“If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy,” Harper said.
A possible punishment could range from anywhere between a fine by the league or nothing more than a reprimand.
The two also spoke extensively throughout the offseason, according to Harper, who asked Trout of what it was like to play in Philadelphia. Trout grew up in Millville, NJ, where he idolized the Philadelphia sports franchises.
There will be plenty of conspiracy theorists though who will think that Harper was looking for some kind of confirmation that Trout would join him on the Phillies once his contract with the Angels runs out.
Trout is on track to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season where he will be the most coveted player on the open market in league history. The 27-year-old has put together a blistering start to his MLB career, winning a pair of MVP awards and six Silver Sluggers to go with seven All-Star selections. In eight professional seasons, he’s slashed .307/.416/.573 with 240 home runs and 1,187 hits.
That kind of resume is going to come at a hefty price that is far greater than Harper’s $330 million. It isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that Trout becomes Major League Baseball’s first $400 million man.
It probably won’t stop the Phillies from offering the chance at a homecoming for Trout. Owner John Middleton has made it known that he is not afraid to spend exorbitant amounts of money to put the best possible product on the field.