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Bryce Harper Is Ticking Off an MLB Team by Recruiting Its Biggest Star

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Bryce Harper has been in Philadelphia for just over a week and he’s already out there talking about recruiting players to his new team, the Phillies.

Well, one team in particular — the Los Angeles Angels — isn’t too happy about it.

“If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy,” Harper told WIP-FM in Philadelphia.

The Angels’ superstar, as Harper mentioned, is an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.

Trout grew up in nearby New Jersey and was a Phillies fan as a kid. He attended the team’s 2007 World Series parade as a 17-year-old, ESPN reported. And he’s an Eagles season ticket holder.

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So, yes, you can say he has some connections to Philly.

“For me, I can be able to talk to Trout, or whoever it is, big-name free agent or whoever wants to come to Philly or is thinking about coming to Philly. I can say, ‘Hey, this is the place to be. This is where the fans are great, ownership understands it, our manager is awesome,'” Harper said.

“I can really put that faith in myself in being able to say, ‘Hey, we are able to go about it the right way, we’re the Philadelphia Phillies and we want whoever wants to come to Philly,'” he said.

“If you don’t want to come to Philly, then don’t come. Don’t be part of it. But if you want to come be part of a winning team and a winning culture, then we are going to need the best players to do that.”

You can’t fault Harper for being excited about his new team’s future. Last week he signed an MLB record $330 million contract. The 13-year deal pays him about $26 million per year.

The total value of the deal eclipsed the 13-year, $325 million contract Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Miami Marlins in 2015 before he was traded to the New York Yankees in December 2017.

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But the Angels didn’t appreciate Harper’s recruiting efforts.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday that the team has “been in touch with MLB and we have no further comment at this time.”

The Times reported that the league is “aware of the situation and has been in contact with the Angels and Phillies.”

What they will be looking at is whether or not this could be considered tampering.

Do you think Bryce Harper is guilty of 'tampering'?

The MLB tampering rule, Rule 3(k), says: “To preserve discipline and competition, and to prevent the enticement of players, coaches, managers and umpires, there shall be no negotiations or dealings respecting employment, either present or prospective, between any player, coach or manager and any Major or Minor League Club other than the Club with which the player is under contract.”

The Angels are working hard to lock up Trout, whom many consider the best player in baseball.

According to The Athletic, the Angels are considering offering him a 10-year, $350 million contract.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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