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La Russa: Harper's comments about Trout disrespected Angels

Mary DeCicco / Major League Baseball / Getty

Former major-league manager Tony La Russa doesn't think highly of Bryce Harper's recruitment tactics.

Shortly after signing a 13-year, $330-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, Harper said he'd try to recruit Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout when the All-Star hits free agency in a couple of years.

La Russa believes Harper should have kept his feelings to himself.

"You have to respect the Angels and their priority to try and get (Trout) signed," La Russa said on ESPN Radio's "Golic and Wingo" on Thursday. "I think it’s human nature to come out and get excited … a guy like Harper, he gets asked all the time about a lot of things, so you can slip. Overall, I think it’s disrespectful to the Angels and to the greater game to start trying to influence a guy's future ahead of time."

La Russa, who serves as VP and special assistant to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski for the Boston Red Sox, explained the right time for Harper to publicly discuss Trout's future prospects is after the Angels slugger's contract expires.

"If he declares for free agency, there’s plenty of time later on to make the contact."

La Russa isn't the only one who has shown concern. The Angels have spoken to MLB about a potential tampering violation since Trout is under contract until after the 2021 season. There has been no indication about whether Harper will face discipline from the league.

Harper didn't back down when asked about his recruitment comments Wednesday.

"If I didn't mean it, I wouldn't have said it," he asserted.

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