Bryce Harper isn’t wasting much time trying to make his new team, the Philadelphia Phillies, even stronger.
Asked by reporters about the impending free agency of Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout in two years, Harper said on Tuesday, “If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy.”
Harper recently signed a massive $13-year, $330 million deal to join the Phillies last week, a record-setting signing that eclipsed the $325 million contract of New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
The 26-year-old’s signing concluded a lethargic offseason when it came to the free-agent market. Both he and infielder Manny Machado — who opted to sign a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres — went unsigned for four months despite being the best talents available.
Harper’s introduction to the lineup further cements the Phillies as legitimate contenders for the National League East crown. The front office was plenty busy this offseason, building a potent-looking offense that now features All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen along with Harper and budding first baseman Rhys Hoskins.
Regardless of spending “stupid money,” as deemed by owner John Middleton, the Phillies are showing no signs of slowing down as they’ve been continuously linked with Trout, who is one of the most recognizable faces and greatest talents in the majors.
And Harper might have helped lay the groundwork for another monster deal in the winter of 2020.
“I talked to him a lot,” Harper said of Trout (h/t MLB.com). “From November, all the way through the process.”
The 27-year-old Trout is a Millville, NJ native grew up just 50 miles from Philadelphia while idolizing the city’s sports teams. He was even on hand for the Phillies’ World Series victory parade in 2008 as a 17-year-old.
“Just seeing where he grew up in Philly, things like that,” Harper said. “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 has already been asked about the possibility of playing for the Phillies and the initial returns were promising.
“Growing up as a kid, you always want to play for your team, but I love it in Anaheim,” Trout said back in 2017. “I can’t say enough about this organization, I was brought up here and we’ll see what happens.”
Trout is already on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career. Through his first eight MLB seasons, he’s been selected to seven All-Star Games, won two MVP awards, and six Silver Sluggers. Putting him in center field alongside Harper in the hitter-friendly Citizen’s Bank Ballpark would obviously give the Phillies the most imposing outfield in the National League.