The Philadelphia Phillies have landed a coveted star shortstop. The Phillies and two-time All-Star Trea Turner have agreed to an 11-year contract worth $300 million, reports ESPN. The team has not yet confirmed the signing. The contract includes a full no-trade clause and no opt-out clauses.
Signing with the defending National League champs reunites Turner with Bryce Harper, his teammate with the Washington Nationals from 2015-18. Harper even said "Turner is my favorite player in the league, it's not even close," this past August. Chances are Harper lobbied Philadelphia's front office on Turner's behalf these last few weeks. Turner also played with Kyle Schwarber with the Nationals in 2021 before they were both traded at the deadline.
The 11-year term comes with a $27.3 million average annual value and that is important because the competitive balance tax (CBT) payroll is calculated using average annual value. Turner likely could have secured $30-plus-million per year on a shorter term contract, but stretching it out over 11 years gives the Phillies more breathing room with regard to the CBT in the immediate future.
Turner, 29, is one of the sport's most electric players. He is a power/speed threat who authored a .298/.343/.466 batting line with 39 doubles, 21 homers, and 27 steals in 30 attempts for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022. Add in above-average defense at a premium position and Turner has been worth 5.7 WAR per 162 games in his career. He is a bonafide superstar.
Presumably Turner will take over at shortstop with Bryson Stott sliding over to second base, his expected long-term position. Stott played well enough as rookie in 2022, particularly once Rob Thomson took over as manager, but players like Turner do not become available often and the Phillies are right smack in the middle of their world series window, so Stott will change positions.
Carlos Correa. Here's his write-up:and the second-best shortstop behind
Turner has been the second-best hitting shortstop in the majors over the last three seasons, posting a higher OPS+ than everyone except Fernando Tatis Jr., whose production came in half as many plate appearances because of injury and suspension. He's a dynamic offensive player, an elite-grade runner with above-average raw power who is capable of posting a 20-20 effort each season. Turner does have an aggressive approach at the plate that sees him readily expand his zone, but it hasn't worked against him yet and, besides, mishit balls are an opportunity for him to leg out an infield single. The more concerning matter with Turner's game is his defense. He committed 16 errors last season, by far the most of the top free-agent shortstops. (Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson combined for 26.) Errors are an imperfect measure, though it's reasonable to think he may need to slide to the other side of the bag in the future (a position he's already familiar with, having played there out of deference to Corey Seager). Regardless, Turner has been a highly productive hitter throughout his career, and there's no reason to expect that to change soon.
As good as Turner is -- and he is excellent -- it is worth noting speed typically does not age well. Excluding the 60-game pandemic season in 2020, Turner's stolen base attempts have gradually slipped from 54 in 2017 to 52 (2018) to 40 (2019) to 37 (2021) to 30 (2022). He does enough other things to remain an elite player, but he is beginning to age out as a stolen base threat.
FanGraphs currently estimates Philadelphia's 2023 CBT payroll at $217.8 million with Turner, under the $233 million threshold. The Phillies still figure to add at least one starting pitcher, however, not to mention bullpen help and general depth. Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola are a year away from free agency and the club could explore extensions with both as well.
Turner rejected the $19.6 million qualifying offer earlier this offseason. Because they paid CBT in 2022, the Phillies will forfeit their second- and fifth-highest 2023 draft picks, plus $1 million in international bonus money for the 2024 signing period to sign Turner. The Dodgers will receive a compensation draft pick after the fourth round for Turner because they also paid CBT.