Everyone in Philadelphia is focused on Mike Trout. As they should be.
The Angels outfielder, and South Jersey product is among the best players in baseball year in and year out. But he's under contract for a while still and his potential return to his hometown is not in the cards anytime soon.
But the Phillies — after adding Jake Arrieta — are looking like a team that wants to compete in two seasons. They are expecting someone, be it J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Scott Kingery or one of the other Phils talented youthful players to bud into a star. Just in time for the loaded 2018 free agent class.
A class headlined, of course, by Bryce Harper.
Harper could command close to $400 million on the open market — and Arrieta's agent Scott Boras will make it his mission to make his outfield client richer than his wildest dreams.
According to MLB insider Buster Olney, there is actually a very good chance it is with Philadelphia. Here's what he said during his "Sign Of The Times" Podcast:
"Just before I recorded this podcast, I bumped into Jake Arrieta's agent Scott Boras who is of course the agent for Bryce Harper. I didn't ask Scott this, but I guarantee you what he would say is, 'Buster, teams pay for talent.' And Bryce Harper is a transcendent talent. I still think he has a chance to push the deal to $400 million. I would bet the family farm that Harper ends up with the Phillies or back with the Washington Nationals."
The Phillies have money to spend, even more than the $75 million they handed to Arrieta or the $60 million they gave first baseman Carlos Santana. If the Phils can break the .500 mark — or even contend for a playoff spot, they could be in the market for a big time bat to help them contend in 2019.
According to NBCSP, Phillies owner John Middletown said he had Arrieta targeted for a long time. Does he have anyone as a target for the upcoming monster class (which also includes Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson and Clayton Kershaw)?
"That’s a conversation for another day," Middleton told NBCSP. "But, trust me, they are circled."