Angels irked as Harper again lobbies for Trout

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Now pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper.

The new Phillies slugger has again lobbied for superstar Mike Trout to join the franchise in 2021, in a possible violation of Major League Baseball's tampering rule.

In a text message to the Los Angeles Times,Angelsgeneral manager Billy Eppler said the team has been in touch with the league regarding Harper's comments. He had no further comment on the matter. The league has also been in contact with the Phillies regarding the matter.

"We are aware of the situation and have been in contact with both clubs," MLB said in a statement Wednesday.

Rule 3(k) reads: "To preserve discipline and competition, and to prevent the enticement of players, coaches, managers and umpires, there shall be no negotiations or dealings respecting employment, either present or prospective, between any player, coach or manager and any Major or Minor League Club other than the Club with which the player is under contract."

Trout, 27, a two-time American League MVP with the Angels, grew up near Philadelphia, attended the Phillies' World Series victory parade in 2008 as a 17-year-old and hasEaglesseason tickets. The outfielder is set to become a free agent after 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 SportsRadio 94WIP in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The Phillies gave Harper a 13-year contract last week, the largest deal in baseball history at $330 million. Harper told team owner John Middleton that he is willing to help the team recruit free agents and sell them on playing for a winner in Philadelphia -- fishing for Trout, sort of.

"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,'" Harper said. "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 is scared to go out and get the best guys we need to have."

Harper, 26, made his first pitch for Trout on Saturday at his introductory news conference in Clearwater.

"I'm making $26 [million] a year. That's going to be able to bring some other guys in as well to build up this organization," the outfielder said. "There's another guy in about two years that comes off the books. We'll see what happens with that."

Harper could make his debut in a spring training game for the Phillies this weekend.

Trout homered Tuesday in an exhibition against theChicago Cubs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Video
Wilbon: There's nothing wrong with Harper recruiting Trout
Wilbon: There's nothing wrong with Harper recruiting Trout
Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser debate whether it's OK for Bryce Harper to recruit Mike Trout to the Phillies.

Trout crushes three-run HR on first pitch he sees
Trout crushes three-run HR on first pitch he sees
Mike Trout smashes a three-run home run to left field for his second dinger of spring training.

Harper hints that Phillies have enough money for Trout
Harper hints that Phillies have enough money for Trout
Bryce Harper explains that he changed his number from 34 to 3 because of Roy Halladay and alludes to Mike Trout's upcoming free agency.
Copyright © 2019 ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.