Angels fans usually aren’t concerned about what the Phillies are doing in free agency, but they need Philadelphia to win the race for Bryce Harper.
The Angels front office is understandably consumed with the idea of building a contender around Mike Trout. Even if they succeed in that endeavor, they can’t overcome one major advantage the Phillies have. Philadelphia’s proximity to Trout’s home town of Millville, NJ could always be the deciding factor if the superstar outfielder hits free agency.
Other teams could always jump into the race to steal Trout away from the Halos, but no other franchise can leverage the lure of home in the same way the Phillies can. That’s not an issue the Angeles will have to deal with directly until two more regular seasons come and go, but it’s already something the organization should be spending a lot of time thinking about.
Clearly, decision-makers with the Angels would love to see the Phillies take themselves out of the race to sign Trout before his market ever really develops. One way that can happen is if the Phillies are successful in spending big money this winter. More specifically, Philadelphia may choose to pounce on Bryce Harper as their highly paid superstar in the outfield. If they give him the massive contract he’s believed to be asking for, it’s very possible they won’t be in a position to afford Trout’s demands in 2021.
There’s a growing belief amongst MLB experts that the Phillies might choose to keep their free agency powder dry for a while if they miss out on Harper and Manny Machado. There’s always the chance they come move on to second-tier targets this offseason like Dallas Keuchel or A.J. Pollock, but no other star on the open market will cost the Phillies to break the bank in the same way Machado or Harper would.
It’s very clear the Angels would benefit from the Phillies inking Harper to a massive contract this offseason. That wouldn’t eliminate all potential suitors for Harper when he has the chance to test free agency, but it would take one serious player out of play. None of this will matter if the Angels can’t build a legitimate contender around Trout in the near future, but Harper to Philadelphia would still be an important boost to Los Angeles.