2019 might mark the beginning of the Philadelphia Phillies’ master plan — not the culmination of it.
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reported this week, citing a baseball source with direct knowledge of Philadelphia’s shopping plans, that the Phillies have enough money to sign both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this offseason, but would like to sign only one of those players in case Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout becomes a free agent after the 2020 season.
One dream scenario for Philadelphia, according to Verducci, would have the Phillies fielding an “all-MVP” outfield comprised of Trout, Harper and Andrew McCutchen in 2021. Signing just one of Harper or Machado — not both — presumably would leave room in the Phillies’ budget in case Trout hits the open market in two years.
The Angels selected Trout in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He since has blossomed into arguably the best player in baseball, winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012 and claiming AL MVP honors in 2014 and 2016.
The six-year $144.5 million contract extension Trout signed prior to the 2014 season runs for two more seasons, meaning this year might be pivotal in determining his long-term future. If the Angels don’t contend for a playoff spot, Trout could decide to take his talents elsewhere.
Should he do so, the Phillies likely will do their best to convince the Millville, N.J., native to play for his hometown team. And if Harper and McCutchen already are in place, they’ll almost certainly participate in the epic recruiting effort.
Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images