It appears that baseball superstar Mike Trout is as tired of waiting for Bryce Harper’s free-agent decision as the rest of us.
A screenshot by Sports Radio 94 WIP‘s Jack Fritz revealed that the Los Angeles Angels star and Millville, New Jersey native had liked a tweet which said “Bryce Harper” followed by a GIF from the classic comedy film “Caddyshack” in which the character of Judge Smails says “Well? We’re waiting!”
As most are aware, Trout is a Philadelphia Eagles super-fan. Cameras always spot him in his end zone season tickets at Lincoln Financial Field, usually when an Eagles player is handing him a ball after scoring a touchdown.
One might be tempted to point out that Trout liked the tweet of a person whose profile includes Phillies jerseys, and link that to some possibility of him coming to Philadelphia should he reach free agency in two years. That would likely fall into the category of grasping at straws. Trout is certainly a baseball fan, and is likely just curious to see where Harper will end up going, regardless of the destination.
The Athletic‘s Jayson Stark did write an article late in 2018 where he spoke to former popular Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, Trout’s teammate in 2015, about the possibility of both Harper and Trout ending up in Philadelphia. Victorino responded as follows:
“Is that some unimaginable dream – to see two of the best players on the planet in the same outfield? Absolutely not…I’ve even told my wife, if that happens, I’d want to go coach. I’d come off the couch just to be part of that and help those guys with all the things that guys have to go through in Philly.”
While the Phillies landing the two most well-known outfielders in baseball (sorry, Mookie Betts) would seem to be a dream scenario and isn’t financially impossible, it still seems pretty unlikely. Despite meeting with Harper on Saturday, many reports suggest the Phillies still prefer Manny Machado.
The Phillies could afford to sign both Machado and Harper, at least in theory. Should that happen it would likely take them out of any future Trout sweepstakes. It also bears constant repeating that there is no guarantee that Trout won’t ultimately stay with the Angels past 2020, his final contractual year. Even if the Angels elect to trade Trout, or if he reaches free agency, there is no guarantee, despite his connections to Philadelphia, that he would ultimately choose to join the Phillies.
While the Phillies can afford to sign Harper and Machado, or could set themselves up to sign one of Harper and Machado and then Trout eventually, that doesn’t mean it is the best strategy to win a World Series.
Whether Aaron Nola makes $4.5 million or $6.75 million or somewhere in between in 2019, the young ace is eventually going to get significantly more expensive. So too will first baseman Rhys Hoskins and reliever Seranthony Dominguez. Even for one of baseball’s deepest-pocketed teams, spending $80 million annually on just two players would may make it difficult to build a 25-man roster good enough to compete in October.
It’s fascinating to imagine Trout and Harper on the same team. Ever since the pair made their debut in Major League Baseball, the two MVP winners have often been compared to one another. Trout has established himself as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. Harper is arguably the face of the sport, and has Hall of Fame talent. It would be a remarkable experience in Philadelphia if both one day donned red pinstripes and played in the same outfield while still in their career prime.
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