After signing superstar outfielder Bryce Harper to a record 13-year, $330 million deal last week, the Philadelphia Phillies already have their eyes set towards free agency two years from now.
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reported last week that Harper’s blockbuster deal, which has an AAV (average annual salary) of $26 million gives the Phillies flexibility to pursue other free agents, specifically Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim superstar outfielder Mike Trout.
Verducci mentioned last month that a Phillies source told him before the offseason began that they had the money to sign both Harper and Manny Machado. However, they rather sign one of the two generational talents, just in case Trout reaches the open market. The Phillies’ dream outfield scenario in 2021 reportedly is Harper, Trout, and Andrew McCutchen.
At his introductory press conference on Saturday, Harper alluded to bringing in big-time free agents such as Trout.
“I think baseball’s worth about 11-and-a-half billion dollars. I think some of it should go back to the players, as well,” he said. “I’m making like $26 [million] a year or 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 up off the books, so we’ll see what happens with him.”
Nevertheless, it does not come as a surprise to see Trout still on the Phillies’ radar. Everybody knows that the Millville, N.J., native is the next player in baseball to get a historic deal.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Sunday that the Angels have considered offering the 27-year-old Trout a record-breaking 10-year contract worth $350 million. However, the veteran MLB scribe also added that it is unclear if Anaheim has actually proposed this deal.
As previously mentioned, if the Angels were to offer this contract to Trout, it would be the highest guaranteed contract in MLB history. But it would not take place until the 2021 season as he has two years on his current deal worth $66.5.
This latest piece of news goes in line with what Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported last month. Heyman mentioned that the Angels would try to extend Trout this winter, but the whispers are saying that an extension unlikely.
The uber-talented outfielder was asked by reporters on Saturday about Harper’s mega-deal but declined to talk about his own free agency.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” he said. “Obviously, you guys [the media] bring it up a lot and I appreciate you asking me all these questions, but right now is not the time to think about it. I still have two years.”
While Trout is right in that he does have two years left on his current deal, everyone knows he is worth more than $350 million and probably wants to play for a contender, sooner than later.
Since he made his debut in 2011, the Angels have not won a playoff game. For a player with his stature and pedigree, joining up with Harper in the next two years would be a great move for his legacy.
Last season with the Angels, Trout slashed .312/.460/.628 with 39 home runs and 79 RBIs. He also drew a career-high 122 walks and only struck out 124 times in 608 appearances.
With those types of numbers, it was good enough for the 27-year-old to earn another all-star game appearance and finish second in the AL MVP race.
It shall be interesting to see how the Phillies fare over the next of couple seasons with Harper and what happens with Trout on the west coast. If things fall into place, Philadelphia could have one of the best outfields, featuring two future Hall of Famers.