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.
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.
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
“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.”
“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.” https://t.co/IanaSxcqVr
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) March 5, 2019
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.
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.”
Harper on the Trout “tampering” issue:
Has anyone reached out?
–BH “They talked to me a little bit; not MLB or anything like that… when that time comes and guys are free agents, we’ll see what happens.”
But you meant it, right?
–BH “If I didn’t mean it I wouldn’t have said it.” pic.twitter.com/rK9Oxh8Woa
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) March 6, 2019
What they will be looking at is whether or not this could be considered 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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