No Harper-Trout dream team in Philly

New record deal ends fans' hopes N.J. native might go east in '20

March 19th, 2019

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Bryce Harper will have to find a new candidate to campaign for.'s Jeff Passan broke the news Tuesday morning that the Angels and Mike Trout are finalizing a 12-year, $430 million contract extension, meaning Harper's 13-year, $330 million contract lasted less than three weeks as the largest guaranteed contract in North American professional sports history. But more important than that to Phillies fans, the club will never see Harper and Trout roaming the same outfield for the same team while in their primes. Harper had said a few times in his first few days with the Phillies that he planned to recruit Trout to Philly, if he ever hit free agency following the 2020 season.

Looks like Trout will have to settle for his offseasons in the front row at Eagles games.

A source said Tuesday the Phillies never considered a Harper-Trout union likely anyway.

First, it was impossible to imagine that the Angels would let Trout leave. Remember what happened to the Red Sox when they traded Babe Ruth? Remember what happened to the Edmonton Oilers when they traded Wayne Gretzky?

The Angels did not want to become part of that infamous group. Trout is on pace to become one of the greatest players in baseball history. Yes, Trout could finish his career at a level alongside Barry Bonds, Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Ted Williams.

Teams should hold onto those players forever.

Second, while nobody knows exactly what Trout would have received on the open market, there is no reason to think he would not have signed something similar to the reported $430 million contract. The deal carries an average annual value of $35.8 million. Trout's AAV alone would have made it difficult for the Phillies to sign him, and still do the other things they will need to do.

Like extend Rhys Hoskins.

Like extend J.T. Realmuto.

Like fill the other voids that certainly will pop up over the next two seasons.

But there is no question that the Phillies feel even better today about Harper's contract. Anecdotally, it seems fewer and fewer superstars are reaching free agency, meaning there are fewer and fewer opportunities to acquire a Hall of Fame-caliber player like Trout, Harper or Manny Machado.

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had been scheduled to reach free agency following this season, but he signed an eight-year, $260 million contract extension last month. It leaves Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon as next winter's biggest fish. Mookie Betts follows in 2020-21 and Francisco Lindor follows him in 2021-22.

But who says they ever get there?

A few years ago everybody talked about the 2018-19 free-agent class because it was expected to include Harper, Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey, Josh Donaldson and Charlie Blackmon.

It looked quite a bit different once the winter arrived.