The Angels did not ignore Bryce Harper’s bold talk about recruiting superstar outfielder Mike Trout to join him in Philadelphia.
LA general manager Billy Eppler told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that the club has spoken with Major League Baseball about Harper’s comments, which could constitute tampering.
“We’ve been in touch with MLB and we have no further comment at this time,” the Times quoted Eppler as saying.
Harper was not bashful earlier in the day about wanting Trout as a teammate with the Phillies after Trout’s contract with the Halos expires following the 2020 season.
“If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy,” Harper told Philadelphia radio station WIP.
He also appeared to refer to Trout’s contract status, without mentioning Trout by name, during his introductory press conference Saturday. “I know there’s another guy in about two years who comes up off the books. We’ll see what happens with him,” Harper said.
Harper said that he spoke with Trout throughout the offseason as Harper was deciding on a team, and Trout told reporters he reached out to Harper after Harper agreed to a record $330 million deal with the Phils.
Talk of acquiring another team’s player is frowned upon in baseball, but MLB rules do not explicitly spell out what the penalty is for tampering.
The Angels are not ready to have their MVP center fielder leave; they reportedly have discussed offering Trout a record $350 million contract to keep him beyond 2020. Trout told reporters at spring training that he might not be inclined to discuss any new deal after Opening Day, opting instead to focus solely on playing.