CLEARWATER, Fla. — Bryce Harper’s reign as king of baseball salaries lasted less than three weeks.
And he’s OK with that.
“I got more money than I’ll know what to do with,” Harper said Wednesday, 24 hours after being displaced by Mike Trout as the game’s highest-paid player.
“I got the length I wanted, I got the contract I wanted, I got the team that I wanted and the ownership that trusted in me. Once I knew Trout was going to sign, it's inevitable that he was going to be the highest-paid player in the game and all of sports. I'm very happy for him.
“He’s very deserving.”
Trout topped Harper’s $330 million payday when he agreed to a $360 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.
“I texted him when the news broke,” Harper said. “I told him, ‘So excited for you and Jess.’ I’m very excited for what’s to come for him and his contract and his career.”
After signing a 13-year deal with the Phillies earlier this month, Harper openly fantasized about one day playing with Trout in Philadelphia. Trout, of course, hails from South Jersey. He grew up rooting for the Phillies and still roots passionately for the Eagles. Trout would have been eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. Now, he’s under contract with Anaheim through 2030.
Maybe they can play together in 2031.
“The Angels made a great decision of making him the face of their franchise for a long period of time,” he said.
Over the last month, a handful of stars have signed mega deals. Nolan Arenado landed a $260 million extension with Colorado. Manny Machado got $300 million from the Padres and Harper and Trout both cleared the $300 million mark.
Every deal pushes the bar a little higher.
“When I talked to [Trout] this offseason it was kind of, 'Man, I want to get as much as I can so that you can blow me out of the water pretty much,'" Harper said. “And he did. I was very excited for him. I'm excited for Mookie [Betts] to see what he gets when he goes about [free agency]. Aaron Judge, as well. And, you know, for the players, I think it's huge for us.”
Harper started in right field for the Phillies in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Tigers. He had his first Grapefruit League base hit, struck out once and walked once.
Harper will play in right field again on Thursday against the Blue Jays in Clearwater. The tentative plan is for him to sit out Friday night’s game then play in the final three games in Florida, at Bradenton against the Pirates on Saturday and in Clearwater on Sunday and Monday.
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