Phillies Get Trea Turner, But at a Steep Price

In a busy Monday across Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies make arguably the biggest splash of the day. The Phillies has reportedly come to terms with former Dodgers infielder Trea Turner on a massive 11-year dal that will be worth $300 million over the length of the deal. It’s a massive haul for the Phillies, but it does come with both short and long-term risk for the defending NL champions.

Related: Which MLB hitters had the highest and lowest Hard Hit% in 2022?

A Look at Trea Turner

Trea Turner‘s unique skillset is something to behold. The former Dodger is an elite hitting shortstop that has a knack for driving the ball hard, while also being a menace on the base paths.

Turner has batted at least .295 in each of the last four seasons, dating back to the Nationals’ 2019 championship team. Turner is also quite efficient when it comes to getting on base, despite below-average walk rates in each of the past two seasons.

Since the shortened 2020 season, Turner has put up a combined .360 OBP. Among players with at least 850 plate appearances during that time, that number is good for the top 20 in MLB. Also during that span, Turner was second among all players in stolen bases (72), behind only current Met Starling Marte. As far as power goes, Turner has cracked 61 home runs over the past three seasons, good for fourth among shortstops during that time. The only shortstops ahead of him in that category were Brewers infielder Willy Adames, free agent Dansby Swanson, and current Ranger Corey Seager.

What it Means for the Phillies and the League

Turner’s incredible speed and hitting ability gave the former Dodger a competitive edge in the free agent market. The Phillies — in one of the league’s worst-kept secrets — were in the market for a shortstop, and were willing to go big to fortify a roster that came just two wins away from a third World Series title this past season. Turner will now join a Phillies team that features an eclectic amount of sluggers. With the new Phillies shortstop’s ability to get on base and wreck havoc with his speed, it’s safe to say that opposing pitchers are going to have a tough time keeping Philadelphia off the scoreboard.

This deal does, however, come with risk. In the short-term, the Phillies still keep the modus operandi of its roster construction with the signing of Turner. While Trea Turner is an elite hitter, the new Phillie ranks among the bottom-half of shortstops in Outs Above Average and Arm Strength. Philadelphia went with an bat-first, defense-second approach for the 2022 season, but it did pay off in the second half and the MLB Playoffs. Will it work, though, in 2023?

Another point to look at is Turner’s speed. Turner is one of the best athletes in the game today, as the shortstop has ranked among the best in Sprint Speed since his debut. How well with Turner’s body and his legs age over the 11-year deal? Obviously, Philadelphia signed Turner with the mindset of winning within the next two to three seasons. If that does happen, the signing can still be looked upon as a success. Still, the odds of Turner performing at that level he sits at now, over the back half of the deal, is next to zero.

Earlier in the day, the New York Mets had a major splash. The Mets signed reigning AL Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander to a two-year deal, as the Mets look to move forward after losing to the Padres in the NL Wild Card round, and Jacob deGrom to the Rangers. With Max Scherzer and Verlander in Queens, and a strong rotation in Atlanta, the NL East has turned into an arms — and bats — race to the top.

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