Angels Claim Tampering Over Harper’s Trout Comments
New Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper alluded to the Phillies potentially signing free agent outfielder Mike Trout in two years. But he did not mention Trout by name. In subsequent interviews he may have slipped and mentioned Trout by name. That has resulted in a potential tampering charge.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Angels are not too pleased and have contacted Major League Baseball:
The Angels have contacted Major League Baseball regarding Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper’s public recruitment of Angels star Mike Trout, a possible violation of tampering rules.
Harper, who signed a $330-million, 13-year contract with the Phillies late last week, told a Philadelphia radio station Tuesday that he plans to ask Trout to join him on the East Coast as soon as Trout becomes a free agent.
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge was formally warned about potential tampering after he mentioned that he would like to see third baseman Manny Machado in pinstripes prior to his free agency:
“We talked a little bit, and I just asked him how his offseason was, how everything was going,” Judge said. “I asked him how he liked short and said, ‘You’d look pretty good in pinstripes, too.’ ”
The official Major League Baseball rules on tampering state:
(k) TAMPERING. 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, or acceptance of terms, or by which the player is reserved or which has the player on its Negotiation List, or between any umpire and any baseball employer other than the baseball employer with which the umpire is under contract, or acceptance of terms, unless the Club or baseball employer with which the person is connected shall have, in writing, expressly authorized such negotiations or dealings prior to their commencement
Passan notes that Harper could be fined for such comments.
At this point, it's pretty clear that Trout knows that Harper wants him on the Phillies. There are of course many other factors there, and the Angels will surely make their best pitch to keep Trout. At the end of the day, Harper stating he would like Trout to be his teammate is not likely to affect the greater picture for Trout. But Harper can dream, and so can fans. But the fans will have to be the one to tell Trout.