Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies have been wishing upon a star for years now to one day see Mike Trout in red pinstripes manning an outfield position at Citizens Bank Park.
The Millville, New Jersey native is scheduled to become a free agent following the 2020 season. The Los Angeles Angels, who drafted him back in the first round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, are not likely to even consider trading their superstar any sooner than the non-waiver deadline at the end of July that year, if then.
Now it is not just the fans who are wishing and hoping to see Trout play his home games in Philly. Newly signed superstar right fielder Bryce Harper is getting in on the action, and is being public about his desire to see Trout join him in Philadelphia.
At his introductory press conference on Saturday in Clearwater, Harper first publicly alluded to Trout when he said “I’m making $26 (million) a year, something like that, so I think that’s gonna be able to bring some other guys in as well that will help this organization win. I know there’s another guy in about two years who comes up off the books. We’ll see what happens with him.”
That “other guy” is, of course, Trout. This afternoon on Philadelphia SportsRadio 94.1 FM WIP, the new Phillies star pushed the early recruitment envelope even further when the topic of Trout was broached directly by co-host Jon Marks: “Are you gonna be recruiting Mike Trout when he becomes a free agent?”
“I think that’s one thing about this contract that I’m able to do. Having 13 years in a place, I’m able to help recruit guys to this organization. And when I have conversations with John and Leigh (Middleton), I can put my faith and trust in them to make big decisions like that.”
“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, where the fans are great. Ownership understands. Our manager is awesome.” I can really put that faith in myself in being able to say we’re gonna go about it the right way.”
“We’re the Philadelphia Phillies and we want whoever wants to come to Philly. If you don’t wanta 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, we’re gonna need the best players to do that. I don’t think John’s scared to go out and get the best guys that we need to have.”
“…if you don’t think I’m not gonna call Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly, you’re crazy.” ~ Bryce Harper
“So, it’s respecting Mike Trout in a certain way during the season, and letting him play, and do the things he needs to do to be Mike Trout. But if you don’t think I’m not gonna call Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly, you’re crazy.”
Trout was far from the only topic brought up by hosts Marks and Ike Reese with Harper. Check out the entire fascinating interview at that embedded link above.
Harper and Trout have been linked since their earliest days in Major League Baseball. Harper was first promoted to the big-leagues by the Washington Nationals in late April 2012 at the age of just 19 years. Trout, who had received a cup of coffee the prior season with the Los Angeles Angels, began that 2012 season in the minor leagues as well. He was also promoted in late April.
Both players received their first 2012 starts on April 28. They would each be selected for their first MLB All-Star Game that summer. Both players would be selected as the Rookie of the Year in their respective leagues when the season was over.
The Phillies head into the 2019 season with renewed energy and enthusiasm. They have become a legitimate contender for the NL East crown, at the very least an NL Wildcard berth. Over in the American League, Trout will try to get his Angels club back to the postseason for just the second time in his career.
You can bet that the Angels will try to do everything within their power to keep Trout for the rest of his career. Owner Arte Moreno is not afraid to spend “stupid” money either. Rumors have already been thrown around that the club is considering a 10-year, $350 million offer.
Trout has said that he won’t talk contract during either this season or the 2020 season. So it would appear that next off-season will be the Angels last chance to keep him. The longer the process goes without Trout committing to Los Angeles for the long-term, the louder the drums will beat to bring him home. You can bet that Harper will be beating his drum loudest and hardest.
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