- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2019

Bryce Harper hasn’t been with the Philadelphia Phillies long, but he has already created a stir. The 26-year-old declared multiple times he’s willing to recruit Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout when he becomes a free agent in 2020. 

That might have been against the league’s rules.

MLB is investigating whether Harper’s comments classified as tampering. But MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told a group of Boston business executives that he doesn’t want to see players recruiting each other while still under contract. 

The NBA has dealt with this same issue as some teams voiced their complaints when Lakers star LeBron James stated his desire to one day play with New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis — who went on to demand a trade. 

Given our rules, players recruiting other players who are still under contract or under reserve to another club is a rule violation,” Manfred said at the Boston College Chief Executives Club. “So, obviously not anxious to see that.”

Last week, Harper told 94WIP, a Philadelphia radio station, “If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy.” 

Harper, who joined the Phillies on a 13-year, $330 million contract, also said at his introductory press conference that “There’s another guy in about two years that comes off the books. We’ll see what happens with that.”

Manfred did not say whether he thought Harper’s comments qualified as tampering, but according to the Los Angeles Times, the Angels contacted the league about the manner.

According to The Associated Press: “Baseball Rule 3(k) prohibits ‘negotiations or dealings respecting employment, either present or prospective, between any player, coach or manager and any Major or Minor League Club other than the Club with which the player is under contract.’”

Based in part on wire service reports. 

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