The ink had barely dried on Bryce Harper’s record 13-year, $330 million contract on Saturday afternoon when he transitioned from the Philadelphia Phillies’ newest outfielder to the team’s lead recruiter.
As Harper fielded questions from the media at his introductory press conference at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Fla., he not-so-subtly referenced the possibility of another elite outfielder joining him in Philadelphia a couple years down the road.
That outfielder, of course, is soon-to-be free agent Mike Trout.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) March 2, 2019
Harper believes his deal will leave the Phillies enough wiggle room to make further additions, including, potentially, the man whom he carefully referenced here as “another guy who comes up off the books in a couple years”
Hey, you don’t want to risk instigating a tampering investigation your first day on the job.
That said, we’re sure the Los Angeles Angels are keenly aware of whom Harper was referencing, and even more so of the battle that will lie ahead as they attempt to convince Trout to stay.
It won’t be easy.
Trout hails from New Jersey, grew up a Phillies fan and has long been on the team’s radar. With Harper now installed as a franchise cornerstone for the next 13 years, Philadelphia can easily sell its commitment to winning. And also write a big check to back it up.
There was no questioning Harper’s commitment to Philadelphia during Saturday’s introduction. Well, aside from one teeny-tiny slip up that surely made the collective hearts of Phillies fans skip a beat.
Bryce: "We want to bring a title back to D.C." Oops. pic.twitter.com/4ygJdukIon
— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) March 2, 2019
Anything can happen on live TV. But at least credit Harper for recovering with a very Philadelphia reference to Broad Street.
It’s actually not surprising that Harper had the Washington Nationals on his mind. Earlier he had credited the organization, and especially manager Mike Rizzo, with helping him grow as a baseball player and as a man.
As for the Nationals. Well, it would appear they’ve moved on without much trouble.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 2, 2019
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