Harper likely to dial down talk about Mike Trout

March 6th, 2019

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Bryce Harper loves Mike Trout. He wants him to join the Phillies in 2021. But Harper is probably going to dial down the Trout talk in the future.

Following comments from Harper regarding Trout over the past few days, the Angels raised the issue to Major League Baseball. Two sources said Wednesday morning that the league has contacted the Angels and Phillies about it.

An Angels spokesperson said Wednesday: “We have been in touch with Major League Baseball and we have no further comment at this time.”

Harper referenced Trout, who could become a free agent after the 2020 season, during his introductory news conference at Spectrum Field. But the comments that generated the most reaction came Tuesday on WIP Radio in Philadelphia.

“If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly, you’re crazy,” Harper told the radio station.

Harper and Trout have been friends since they played together in the Arizona Fall League in 2011. They won the National League and American League Rookie of the Year Awards, respectively, in 2012. Harper just signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported recently that the Angels have discussed a potential contract extension for Trout, but he said he would prefer not to discuss an extension during Spring Training or during the regular season.

Harper told MLB.com on Saturday that he talked to Trout throughout free agency. Trout is from Millville, N.J. He grew up a Phillies fan and he has Eagles season tickets at Lincoln Financial Field.

“I talked to him a lot,” Harper said. “From November, all the way through the process.

“Just seeing where he grew up in Philly, things like that. We’ve kept in contact over the last seven years. But 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.”

Harper said on WIP that the fact he signed a 13-year contract with a full no-trade clause and no opt-out clause means he can be an effective recruiter.

“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. “And 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 and be part of a winning team and a winning culture, then we’re going to need the best players to do that. And I don’t think [managing partner] John [Middleton] is scared to go out and get the best guys that we need to have.”