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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Bryce Harper didn’t waste any time endearing himself to Phillies fans during his introduction Saturday in Clearwater. He, too, wants to see a certain Millville, New Jersey, outfielder playing center field at Citizens Bank Park. During a radio interview with 94WIP on Tuesday, Harper doubled down on his plans to recruit Mike Trout to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020.
“If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020,” Harper told 94WIP, “you’re crazy.”
“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.’ I can really put that faith in myself in being able to say we are able to go about it the right way, we are the Philadelphia Phillies and we want whoever wants to come to Philly. If you don’t want to come to Philly, then don’t come. Don’t be part of it. But if you want to come, be part of a winning team and a winning culture, then we are going to need the best players to do that. I don’t think John (Middleton) is scared to go out and get the best guys we need to have.”
Harper hinted during his press conference Saturday that his 13-year, $330 million contract – the largest contract in American sports history – will allow the Phillies to stay active in adding talent. Harper’s annual average value, which counts against baseball’s competitive balance tax, is $25.38 million.
“I’m making 26 (million dollars) a year, something like that, so I think that’s going to be able to bring some other guys in as well to be able to help this organization win. I know there’s another guy in about two years that comes off the books. We’ll see what happens with him,” Harper said Saturday.
Harper is going to fit in just fine in Philadelphia.
If he helps the Phillies land Trout, the fans’ Great White Buffalo in 2020, perhaps he’ll find himself in Chase Utley territory one day as one of the most beloved Phillies.
You can listen to the full interview here.