Phillies President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski has made his first splash of this offseason, inking star shortstop Trea Turner to a massive deal. The 29-year-old agreed to terms on an 11-year, $300 million pact that will take him through the 2033 season.
Turner had been rumored to be at the top of the Phils’ wishlist this winter, and they got their man only hours after the division rival Mets reeled in legendary pitcher Justin Verlander. After declining Jean Segura’s club option, the Phillies had a hole in the middle infield, and they sought to plug it with one of the big four shortstops on the market. Turner was joined in free agency by fellow All-Stars Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa. The Phils checked in on all four players, but clearly prioritized Turner.
The Florida native will likely man shortstop for the next half decade at least, pushing impressive youngster Bryson Stott over to the keystone. Turner also profiles as a perfect leadoff option for a team that turned to hulking slugger Kyle Schwarber to be their spark plug last season. The North Carolina State product is a true five-tool star, slashing.302/.355/.487 across 3,737 caster plate appearances thus far. He’s racked up 191 doubles, 124 homers and 230 stolen bases to only 42 failed attempts, good for a terrific 122 OPS+.
Interestingly enough, Matt Gelb of the Athletic reported that the San Diego Padres offered to top Turner’s deal with the Phillies, but were rebuffed in their efforts. A multitude of factors likely played into his decision, some of which being his wife hailing from New Jersey, his rumored desire to stay on the East coast, and his friendship with former Washington Nationals teammates Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber, as well as hitting coach Kevin Long.
Whatever the motivation, Turner’s decision to come to Philadelphia is welcome news for a franchise that fell only two wins shy of a world championship. After their Cinderella run through October, the Phillies are looking to reload and make another push for their first title since 2008. With the only real offensive hole now filled, Dombrowski will likely turn his attention to the pitching staff, where at least one starter as well as a handful of bullpen arms are needed.
If owner John Middleton is willing to continue handing out big time deals, the Phils could end up with an ace like Carlos Rodón, or a more mid-tier hurler like Jameson Taillon. There’s less to choose from on the relieved market, but Dombrowski could employ the same quantity over quality approach as last season, and scoop up multiple veterans on short-term deals.