Report: Angels Contact MLB About Bryce Harper's Recruitment of Mike Trout
Since joining the Phillies a little less than a week ago, Bryce Harper has made it abundantly clear that he wants the team to add as much premium talent as possible in the coming years in order to build and sustain a winner. That shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise, but the aggressiveness with which Harper has openly talked about eventually teaming up with Mike Trout when baseball’s best player becomes a free agent after the 2020 season is causing quite a stir.
Understandably, Phillies fans have quickly and completely fallen hard for Harper. I mean, how could they not?
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) March 5, 2019
Whisper more of such good tidings in my ear my sweet, sweet prince.
But not everyone is so enthralled by Harper’s recruiting pitches. According to a Los Angeles Times report, the Angels have contacted Major League Baseball regarding his recent overt recruiting tactics:
The Angels have contacted Major League Baseball regarding Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper’s public recruitment of Angels star Mike Trout, a possible violation of tampering rules.
I know it’s early, but this has a chance to be the dumbest story of the day.
Let’s run through this. Harper reportedly picked Trout’s brain on multiple occasions throughout this past offseason about what it would be like to play in Philadelphia as he made his own free agency decision. In the course of those private conversations, or texts, or Snap Chats, or Instagram DMs, you don’t think Harper said, “Suhhh kid???!! If I do go to Philly, you should definitely come with, bro!”
In terms of tampering rules, I get why a manager or a front office guy can’t stand up and say, “We want you, Mike. Real bad. Take all of our money!” Tampering rules between players, however, are both silly and futile. Private exchanges between any two players about a certain city or team, which occur frequently, carry significantly more weight than any public recruiting pitches like this one. Harper’s public comments are simply about arousing excitement and engendering goodwill from the fans, not interfering with the integrity of the Angels’ future potential negotiations with Trout.
A great player wants to play with another great player, so what? In the end, if Trout wants to come home and the money is right, he’s coming to Philly. If he wants to toil away with a mediocre franchise in Los Angeles for the remainder of his career, he’s going to do it. He’s going to do whatever he wants. It’s not as if Harper’s comments made Trout or the Phillies say, “Wow. You know, that’s a pretty strong idea. Let’s look into it.”
I get where the Angels are coming from, and I’m sure that Major League Baseball will look to publicly quell this talk, and there may be a fine coming Harper’s way, but the league should be privately thrilled. Sports fans, not just Phillies fans, are talking about baseball, which is something the league sorely needs right now as it battles increasing apathy and perception issues. In fact, it should be to the moon that its best player is finally generating some buzz. The organic intrigue of a possible Trout/Philly union is already wild and the potential future marketing possibilities are endless after eight years of struggling to utilize Trout’s remarkable talents to promote the game.
Of course, the Angels could just accept that they are fortune’s fool, round up the scouting department, and be proactive about this thing by trading Trout later this summer, but we’ll save that discussion for another day.