Mike Stone/Associated Press
The Philadelphia Phillies may have their eyes on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado this offseason, but the league’s biggest fish could be joining them in the near future.
According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the National League East team “will make a big play for Mike Trout in two years” if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Los Angeles Angels, with whom he has played his entire career.
Heyman noted an extension in “unlikely” for Trout even though he enjoys playing for the Angels. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2021 under his current contract.
Philadelphia’s last winning record was in 2011 (102-60), and it finished in fourth or fifth place in the NL East five years in a row from 2013 through 2017. However, Philly is trending in the right direction and improved by 14 games from 2017 to 80-82 in 2018.
Buoyed by that success, it has been aggressive this offseason and already traded for shortstop Jean Segura and signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen. What’s more, Bob Nightengale of USA Today cited team executives who said the Phillies “have visions” of signing Harper, starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel and relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel.
Nightengale went as far as to call the Phillies “the clear-cut favorite” to sign Harper after they met with him in his hometown of Las Vegas on Saturday.
That aggressiveness when it comes to pursuing the best players in the majors apparently will continue if and when Trout hits the open market. He is only 27 years old but is well on his way to the Baseball Hall of Fame and would anchor the Phillies lineup through his prime if they signed him following the 2020 campaign.
The center fielder has two American League MVPs, an AL Rookie of the Year, six Silver Sluggers and seven All-Star Game nods on his resume. Trout is also a New Jersey native and a noted Philadelphia sports fan. Signing with the Phillies would be something of a homecoming for Trout and potentially give him the opportunity to win his first career championship ring.