SAN DIEGO — Shortstop Trea Turner and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed on an 11-year, $300 million contract Monday, sources told ESPN, adding the best power-speed player in baseball to the National League champions’ already-potent lineup.
The aggressive courtship of 29-year-old Turner by the Phillies accelerated as other teams, including the San Diego Padres, stepped up in recent days. Philadelphia, which lost in the World Series to the Houston Astros, targeted Turner as the perfect complement to a lineup that already includes his former Washington Nationals teammate Bryce Harper, All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, slugger Kyle Schwarber and first baseman Rhys Hoskins.
The deal, which includes a full no-trade clause and no deferred money, ties Turner to the Phillies through the 2033 season and is the 10th $300 million-plus contract in baseball history. He is the fourth shortstop to reach that threshold, along with the New York Mets‘ Francisco Lindor, the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Texas Rangers‘ Corey Seager.
Combined with the two-year, $86.66 million contract given to right-hander Justin Verlander by the Phillies’ NL East rival Mets earlier Monday, baseball’s winter meetings, being held in person for the first time since 2019, got off to a rousing start on their first day. Despite a slow start to the winter, teams now have lavished more than $1 billion on free agents — and that’s with Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Rodón, Brandon Nimmo and Dansby Swanson still yet to sign.
Turner’s dynamism was on display in 2022, when he hit .298/.343/.466 with 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had acquired him at the 2021 trade deadline along with ace Max Scherzer. It matched the production throughout Turner’s career, during which he has hit .302/.355/.487 with 124 home runs, 230 stolen bases and 586 runs scored in 849 games.
No player in baseball matches Turner’s penchant for combining skill and athleticism. Lightly recruited out of high school, he thrived as a freshman at NC State and went 13th overall in the 2014 draft to San Diego. Less than six months later, the Padres dealt him to the Nationals, where he tore through the system, then locked down a starting role in 2016 at second base and center field.
He transitioned to his natural position, shortstop, in 2017 and has racked up MVP votes in each of the past three seasons. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Turner is the sort of long, lithe athlete of whom teams dream — particularly a team like the Phillies, who will move rookie shortstop Bryson Stott to second base and add another big-ticket free agent to their loaded roster.
Under president Dave Dombrowski, the Phillies have aggressively pursued free agents, and Turner’s $27.3 million-a-year contract will push their payroll well over $200 million. While Turner, Harper, Realmuto, Schwarber, right-hander Zack Wheeler and outfielder Nick Castellanos all will make more than $20 million this season, the sorts of young reinforcements the best teams use to balance out big-dollar contracts could be in the big leagues sooner than later.
Right-hander Andrew Painter, a 19-year-old taken in the first round of the 2021 draft, ascended to Double-A in his first season and, according to evaluators, could be ready for the major leagues as soon as next season. Righty Mick Abel, Philadelphia’s first-rounder the previous season, finished 2022 at Double-A as well. Both could eventually join a rotation that includes Wheeler, Aaron Nola — who’s a free agent after the 2023 season — and Ranger Suarez.
The Phillies still could shore up their pitching staff with further dips into the free agent market, but the winter is already seen as a success with Turner in the fold. He is expected to bat leadoff and spearhead a lineup that will be missing Harper for at least the first half of the season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Philadelphia will need all the help it can get in the cutthroat NL East, where the Mets and Atlanta Braves provide formidable division foes, each winning 101 games in 2022 while the Phillies booked 87 victories. Nonetheless, it was the Phillies who ran roughshod through the NL playoffs, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card series, beating Atlanta in the division series and disposing of the Padres in the NL Championship Series.