The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Mike Trout upstages Bryce Harper again

Bryce Harper screams at the home plate umpire after being ejected from a game last season. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

Within days of signing his record-setting 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies last month, Bryce Harper was openly talked about recruiting Mike Trout to the City of Brotherly Love after the Angels outfielder and New Jersey native’s contract expired after the 2020 season.

“If you don’t think I’m going to call Mike Trout in 2020, to have him to come to Philly, you’re crazy,” Harper told a Philadelphia sports-radio station, prompting the Angels to complain to Major League Baseball about a possible tampering violation.

Mike Trout, Angels reportedly finalizing largest deal in U.S. sports history

So much for that. The Angels are finalizing a 12-year contract extension for Trout worth “roughly” $430 million, which would surpass Harper’s deal as the largest in North American sports history by a cool $100 million. It was widely assumed that landing baseball’s biggest contract was one of Harper’s objectives in free agency; he held the record for less than three weeks before news broke of Trout’s pending extension.

Early in their respective careers with the Angels and Nationals, there was some debate about whether Trout or Harper was baseball’s better young superstar, but Trout, a seven-time all-star and two-time American League MVP, has put the debate to rest in recent years.

Analysis: Mike Trout, baseball's $430 million man, is actually underpaid

“If you don’t [consider Trout the best player in the game], then you’re not watching,” Harper said while mic’d up during last year’s All-Star Game. “This guy is day in and day out, year in and year out, one of the best in all of baseball.”

After Tuesday’s news broke, the Harper-Trout comparisons resurfaced, and jokes about how disappointed Harper must be to be upstaged by Trout once again oozed like Cheez Whiz.

Meanwhile, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal “fainted” upon reading the news of Trout’s pending payday and suggested he’ll raise his kid to be a baseball player.

“Son, grab that bat!” Beal tweeted.

Read more on the Nationals:

So what does Juan Soto need to do to hit better this season? Not much.

Nats make another round of spring training cuts, shave roster to 40 players

Jake Noll, once a college walk-on, is having a great spring with the Nationals

Michael A. Taylor starts light work just three days after spraining knee and hip