Phillies double on World Series with $300M Trea Turner contract | News, scores, highlights, stats and rumours

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

As the team’s newest member can attest, the Philadelphia Phillies have clearly pressed the pedal firmly to the metal as they continue their pursuit of a World Series championship.

This particular member is none other than Trea Turner. On Monday, the fast, powerful shortstop agreed to join the defending National League champions on a deal worth $300 million over 11 years, according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel:

Kiley McDaniel @kileymcd

Source: Turner gets 11 years, $300 million with a full no-trade clause

A supplementary report Jon Heyman of the New York Post clarified that 29-year-old Turner’s contract also contains no opt-outs.

So it fits nicely with the 13-year, $330 million contract Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies in March 2019. Just as that was the beginning of a wonderful partnership, the same should prove to be true of Turner’s own union with the Phillies.

Trea Turner and the Phillies are perfect for each other

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 11: Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers talks with Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 11, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Dodgers beat the Phillies 8-2.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Unlike Jacob deGrom’s landing with the Texas Rangers, Turner’s pact with the Phillies is the first clubhouse leader for the least surprising move of the 2022/23 off-season.

Turner – who debuted with the Washington Nationals in 2015 before landing a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in mid-2021 – was rumored and the Phillies joined forces as early as June. So it made sense when MLB Network’s Jon Morosi identified the Phillies as the team to beat in his market on November 30:

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

The #Phillies have emerged as favorites to sign Trea Turner. My latest report here. @MLBNetwork PVjw5f6NhP

As for why Turner and Philadelphia are such a good fit, how much time do you have?

While it didn’t stop them from coming within two wins of the franchise’s first World Series title since 2008, the Phillies were among MLB’s top shortstop stragglers in 2022. Led primarily by rookie Bryson Stott, the players they tried on the position produced just a .651 OPS, 12 home runs, 10 stolen bases, and 0.6 rWAR.

For his part, Turner’s 162-game averages over the past three seasons include a .877 OPS, 27 homers, 31 steals and 5.7 rWAR. Check and mate.

While on a temporary basis, the Phillies also needed a means to deepen their lineup while waiting for Harper’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. Signing Turner did, especially when manager Rob Thomson uses him in the opening spot so 46-homer slugger Kyle Schwarber can hit in mid-order.

Once Harper is back on the field – which should be sometime around the All-Star break – the Phillies have arguably the most dynamic offense in the NL.

Indeed, they were the only team on the Senior Circuit to hit 200 home runs and steal 100 bases in 2022. Turner is a proven contributor on both fronts. And given how well his elite sprint speed matches the larger bases and pickoff restrictions coming to the MLB in 2023, he may not have reached his peak as a base-stealer yet.

In addition to all the reasons why the Phillies must be excited right now, let’s also acknowledge the things that must have made Turner feel excited himself.

The money, of course, but also more personal matters. There seems to be a lot of mutual affection between the Turners and the Harpers, and everything points to the Turner clan just digging the East Coast as well.

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

No opt-out in Turner deal. But it works great for him because he’s on the east coast in Philly (his wife is from New Jersey) with spring in Florida (he’s from Lake Worth)

So, what’s not to like about it?

This is a huge but worth the risk

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 11: Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the first inning in game one of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on October 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Well, for starters, that’s a lot of years and a lot of dollars for someone who’s not exactly young and whose skills aren’t devoid of red flags.

Next year will be Turner’s 30th season, so his new contract will see him all the way through his 40th season in 2033. Whatever happens, the Phillies will invariably be saddled with his decline.

There’s a prospect that those will come sooner rather than later, if only because the speed aging curve is about as ominous as one might think:

The more Turner’s speed dries up, the more he will have to use other resources to produce value.

Which brings us to even more red flags, including his hit-or-miss statistics at shortstop and what happened to the quality of his contact last season. The average speed of 88.9 mph on batted balls was his lowest mark since his rookie campaign.

And yet, when we focus on how Turner could struggle to make long-term returns on his investment, we ignore the huge rewards the Phillies could reap in the short term.

After all, their championship window is wide open straight away. And apart from Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins and Jose Alvarado, who will be free after 2023, the Phillies’ core players are incarcerated for more than one season. That’s the support they need to keep that window open.

As it begins to close, Jayson Stark of The Athletic noted how Turner’s contract appears to be explicitly designed to allow the Phillies to get the pieces they need to stop or at least slow that process:

Jason Stark @jasonst

The #Philliesstrategy with Turner was very similar to the way she did the Bryce Harper talks in 2019.

They proposed a lower AAV over several years to give them more flexibility to build a roster around both players.

Both were open to that structure. Clear!

Even now, the $27.3 million average annual value of Turner’s deal is reasonable. It’s going to get even more every year, especially in the context of emerging luxury tax thresholds.

In the meantime, yet another bonus of Turner’s pact is that the Phillies have denied one of their greatest enemies a huge puzzle piece. Sans Turner, the Dodgers have no choice but to find a shortstop elsewhere. And with less hope of finding a discount, to boot.

Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson are now on the clock

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 13: Carlos Correa #4 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two-run home run as he rounds the bases against the Kansas City Royals in the fifth inning of the game at Target Field on September 13, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Twins defeated the Royals 6-3.  (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

David Berding/Getty Images

If Turner is worth $300 million in 11 years, what does that mean for Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson?

Nothing but good things, in all likelihood.

While the general expectation at the start of the off-season was that Turner would land a rather large sack, no one predicted his contract to be in double-digit years with a $300 million guarantee. That includes us, because we had him scheduled for eight years and $272 million.

As such, it now seems instructive to revisit our projections for the three star shortstops left:

  • Carlos Correa: 9 years, $270 million
  • Xander Bogaerts: 8 years, $240 million
  • Dansby Swanson: 6 years, $140 million

Those are looking a bit light now, especially as far as Correa is concerned.

Correa, 28, isn’t just younger than Turner. He’s also more adept, with the most rWAR of any shortstop since 2015 and the most postseason home runs of any shortstop this side of Derek Jeter. He was also ineligible for a qualifying bid and therefore, unlike Turner, is not tied to a draft pick fee.

As he did when he signed a three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Minnesota Twins in March, Correa was once again able to defy expectations by accepting a short-term contract with high AAV. But if he and agent Scott Boras want to use Turner’s deal as a model, it’s hard to imagine him settling for less than 11 years, $300 million.

In any case, Turner’s contract has already positioned this off-season market to be one that no shortstop will ever forget.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

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