The Phillies have their man in Bryce Harper, but the team’s new star is already hard at work recruiting the next one.
Speaking Tuesday with Jon Marks and Ike Reese on SportsRadio 94WIP, Harper didn’t hold back when discussing his plan to recruit Mike Trout to the Phillies.
“If you don’t think I’m going to be calling Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly," Harper said, "you are crazy.”
Harper was also clear that part of the reason he signed a 13-year deal with the team was he believed it will make his recruiting pitch, whether it be to Trout or another free agent, more genuine.
“I think that is one thing about this contract that I am able to do. Having 13 years in a place, I am able to help recruit guys to the organization. When I had conversations with John and (his wife) Leigh, I can put my faith and trust in them to make big decisions like that.”
Although he has only been part of the Phillies organization for less than a week, Harper already had his pitch prepared to both Trout and other big-name free agents.
"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,” Harper said. “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 is scared to go out and get the best guys we need to have.”
As for Trout, Harper and the Phillies won’t technically be able to recruit him until he becomes a free agent in 2020.
Until then, it sounds like Harper will allow Trout to focus on baseball.
“I think It’s respecting Mike Trout in a certain way during the season, letting him play," Harper said, "and do the things he needs to do to of course be Mike Trout.”
Harper is expected to make his debut in a Phillies’ uniform this Saturday.
You can check out the entire interview with Harper below: