Bryce Harper and Maybe More? The Phillies Are Building Something Big

The Philadelphia Phillies are a big market team with a plethora of money. And this offseason, they might just use some of it. With the two big free agents out on the market Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the Phillies will surely land one of them. And if the Phillies wanted to, they could probably sign both of them. However; they have a bigger plan in mind.

Sources close to the Phillies have said that the team wants to sign just one of them and leave some cap space for another super star. Who would that might be? Well if you look at what’s going on in the AL West a sneaky big piece of news dropped recently. The LA Angels have renewed their lease in Anaheim through the 2020 season. After that season a little ball player named Mike Trout becomes a free agent. Could the Angels be on the move to rebuild? If that’s the case, than your big free agent asset after 2020 is arguably the best player in the game right now, Mike Trout.

If the Phillies could land bother Harper/Machado AND Trout, boy would that be an all time team. Whether they would win is up for debate, but that would surely be a fun team to watch.

Does This Make Sense for LA?

If the LA Angels were to leave Anaheim, would they want to bring Trout with them? Or go with a totally new identity? You’d have to imagine that they’d want to keep the best player in baseball, but since 2011 when Trout debuted, the Angels have failed to win a playoff game. The Angels have never really thought to be a contender for quite some time now and a rebuild makes sense. Why pay a player that’s going to want nearly $40 million (maybe more) when you won’t even have a good team? So if that’s the case, Trout might be headed home.

Image result for mike trout little league
Mike Trout Little League Photo

Trout grew up less than an hour from Philly and coming home may be the top option. Granted, some players don’t like returning home because of the distractions but he knows that when the Phillies are good, the fans will come. Earlier in the decade, the Phillies had the highest attendance and baseball and were the most watched local team. And landing Trout will certainly get those numbers up as the Phillies viewing audience and attendance have slipped bad.

Is It Right For Philadelphia?

As Phillies owner John Middleton said, “We have stupid money to spend.” The Phillies payroll last season was $119 million and projects to be around $130 million this year. With the first level of the luxury tax is $206 million, it’s safe to say that Philadelphia can afford two top dollar players on the roster in Machado or Harper and Trout. Fandom in Philly is electric. Just look at what the city had to do when the Eagles defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl LII and when Villanova won March Madness. If the Phillies were to land Mike Trout, than get ready to grease those poles again Philadelphia.

Now if you give any weight into the idea that the Phillies want Machado over Harper because of the timing of the meeting than so-be-it. However; Machado would probably be the better fit. Phillies third basemen Maikel Franco is a career .250 hitter, Machado .282. Machado’s numbers were better than Franco’s last season as well. And with the Phillies now having Jean Segura, Machado as a shortstop would be out of the question.

As for the outfield, the Phillies acquired veteran Andrew McCutchen who also has a career average near .300. Although Trout hasn’t won a gold glove in his career, he’s still a solid outfield and was a runner up this season to Jackie Bradley Jr of the Boston Red Sox.

Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself

This is all still dependent on whether or not the Angels are willing to part ways with Trout — for nothing. If the Angels were smart, they’d trade Trout to get assets, draft picks, or prospects. But if the Phillies do land Trout and Machado (or Harper) then this will be a team to watch out for in the coming seasons. Will it be enough to win? That’s a tough one to answer, but Trout leaving the AL for the NL will only increase his numbers. All we do know is that the NL East is going to become a lot more competitive.

And with the oh so fast moving pace of baseball’s offseason, if Trout were to become a free agent in 2020 don’t expect him to sign fast. He’ll want to test the market first, as anyone would. But with the Phillies boasting the best offer, it’ll be hard to turn that down. And with signs pointing to the Angels and Trout at a crossroads per The Athletic, Mike Trout to Philadelphia becomes more and more of a possibility.

– Brian Berard (@RockyBerard)

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