Harper: 'You are crazy' to think I won't recruit Trout to Phillies in 2020
Bryce Harper is wasting no time recruiting a new face to Philadelphia.
"If you don't think I'm going to be calling Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly, you are crazy," Harper said during an interview with John Marks and Ike Reese of SportsRadio 94WIP on Tuesday.
Harper went on to explain that his ironclad 13-year deal with the Phillies allows him "to help recruit guys to the organization."
"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 appeared to allude to Trout's future free agency during his introductory press conference, and on Saturday revealed he even consulted with the Angels star and Philadelphia-area native about life in the city. However, his much more direct comments on Tuesday could be construed as violating MLB's tampering rules, as Trout's under contract with Los Angeles through 2020.
MLB has dealt with tampering issues in the past. Last March, a brief controversy erupted after New York Yankees star Aaron Judge told then-Baltimore Orioles infielder Manny Machado he'd "look good in pinstripes." In 2016, the league warned former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz after he openly pushed for several players still under contract to join Boston.
Trout - a native of Millville, N.J., and a noted fan of the NFL's Eagles - has been linked to the Phillies throughout his career. He's refused to discuss his future plans this spring.
The Angels have reportedly considered offering him a 10-year, $350-million contract extension.