Phillies, SS Trea Turner reach 11-year, $300 million deal

SAN DIEGO — Shortstop Trea Turner and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed on an 11-year, $300 million deal Monday, sources told ESPN, adding the top power-speed player to the National League champions’ already strong roster added to baseball.

The Phillies’ aggressive courtship of the 29-year-old gymnast accelerated as other teams, including the San Diego Padres, stepped up in recent days. Philadelphia, who lost to the Houston Astros in the World Series, was targeting Turner as the perfect addition to a lineup that already included former Washington Nationals teammate Bryce Harper, All-Star catcher JT Realmuto, slugger Kyle Schwarber and First include 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 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 that the Phillies’ NL East rivals Mets awarded right-hander Justin Verlander Monday, had baseball’s winter meetings, which were held in person for the first time since 2019 , a rousing start to their first day. Despite a slow start to the winter, teams have now spent more than $1 billion on free agents — and that’s with Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Rodón, Brandon Nimmo and Dansby Swanson yet to sign.

Turner’s momentum showed in 2022 when he hit .298/.343/.466 with 21 homers and 27 stolen bases for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who took him on at the 2021 close along with ace Max Scherzer. It matched the performance during Turner’s career, in which he hit .302/.355/.487 with 124 home runs, 230 stolen bases and 586 runs made in 849 games.

No baseball player can match Turner’s penchant for combining skill and athleticism. Easily drafted out of high school, he thrived as a freshman at NC State, picking 13th overall in the 2014 draft after San Diego. Less than six months later, the Padres brought him to the Nationals, where he broke the system and established a starting role at second base and midfield in 2016.

He switched to his natural position of shortstop in 2017 and has amassed MVP votes in each of the past three seasons. At 6ft 2 and 185 pounds, Turner is the kind of tall, lithe athlete that teams dream of — especially a team like the Phillies, who will bring rookie shortstop Bryson Stott to second base and add another tall free agent too their loaded list.

Under President Dave Dombrowski, the Phillies have been aggressively pursuing free agents, and Turner’s $27.3 million annual contract will push her payroll well over $200 million. While Turner, Harper, Realmuto, Schwarber, right-hander Zack Wheeler and outfielder Nick Castellanos are all set to make more than $20 million this season, the young reinforcements using the best teams to equalize big contracts could be in the big leagues be sooner than later.

Right-hander Andrew Painter, a 19-year-old who was drafted in the first round of the 2021 draft, rose to Double-A in his first season and could be ready for the big leagues as early as next season, according to reviewers. Righty Mick Abel, Philadelphia’s first-round pick last season, also finished 2022 with Double-A. Both could eventually join a rotation that includes Wheeler, Aaron Nola – who is a free agent after the 2023 season – and Ranger Suarez.

The Phillies could still bolster their pitching team with more free-agent dips, but the winter is already being considered a success with Turner. He is expected to hit the leadoff and headline a lineup that Harper will miss 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 are formidable division opponents, each winning 101 games in 2022 while the Phillies have 87 wins. Nonetheless, it was the Phillies who trampled on the NL playoffs, defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild card series, defeated Atlanta in the division series, and crushed the Padres in the NL championship series.

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