Besides evaluating the progression of some of the organization's top young talents, much of the discussion surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies organization over the next few seasons will revolve around whether the team will obtain a superstar talent.
Two names frequently linked to the Phillies, mostly in a speculative sense, are Los Angles Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper. MLB Hall of Famer Pete Rose spoke to Rob Ellis Ellis and Harry Mayes of 97.5 the Fanatic this week and suggested that he thinks either of the two would be good fits for both the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia:
Ellis: Would Harper, a guy like that be a good fit in this city?
Rose: Yeah, because he plays hard.
Rose went on to suggest that Trout would be a good fit with the team as well.
"Trout would be a good player in Philadelphia," Rose opined. "It seems like all the great players in MLB today, the superstars, they all play hard. It's hard to be a great player today and not play hard."
Of course, things aren't as simple as pointing out that Trout and Harper would be good fits in Philadelphia and making it happen. Trout and Harper are among the game's best players -- Trout is the game's best player -- so they would fit on all 30 teams in the league. That means that you have to weigh the prospects of what it would take to obtain either of them.
In Trout's case, as good of a fit as he may be with the Phillies, there may not ever be a logical way to obtain him. The Phillies probably don't want to wait until after 2020, when Trout can become a free-agent, to land a top free-agent. They could attempt to trade for Trout, but for as good as he is, it's fair to wonder if trading what would be a historic package to obtain Trout AND signing him to a record contract extension would be smart.
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Harper may not be as good as Trout, but if he can show over the next two seasons that the 2015 version of Harper -- who slashed .330/.460/.649, hit 42 home runs and posted a 9.5 WAR -- he would be an intriguing investment. He'll only be 26 when he becomes a free-agent, will become a free-agent two years before Trout could and wouldn't require giving up a bulk of the team's farm system to obtain.
Of course, there's no law mandating that the Phillies eventually obtain either of them. The 2018 free-agent class will be historically good, as it could feature Clayton Kershaw, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Adam Jones, A.J. Pollock and Zach Britton, among others. The Phillies do seem likely to make a significant financial investment(s) over the next few seasons, but there will be plenty of options as to how they could do that.