Trea Turner's New Contract With the Phillies Will Look Ugly on the Back-End

Ryan Phillips
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages
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The Philadelphia Phillies made a big splash on Monday, signing shortstop Trea Turner to an 11-year deal worth $300 million. In the short-term, it's a great pickup for the defending National League champions, who added another bat to an already potent lineup. But Turner will turn 30 in June and paying him an average of $27.3 million a year into his 40s is going to hurt in the long run.

Turner had another excellent year for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022. He hit .298, while notching career-highs in hits (194), home runs (21), doubles (39) and RBIs (100). But his OPS (.809) was down considerably from years past and was his lowest since 2018. It was more than 100 points off his 2021 mark (.911). He also struck out 131 times, one off his career high (132 in 2018). That said, Turner ranked 13th in MLB in fWAR (6.3), but that was down from what he produced in 2021 (6.8).

Despite some of his numbers being depressed, Turner is an All-Star who won a Silver Slugger this year and a World Series in 2019 with the Washington Nationals. He's going to be great as part of a lineup that features Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm and J.T. Realmuto. The Phillies will be loaded for the next few seasons.

The problem here is the length of the deal. Much of Turner's surplus value is his unique power/speed combination. He has 230 stolen bases in eight seasons, with a high of 46 in 2017, and he racked up 27 in 2022. Additionally, he often takes the extra base on the basepaths, upping his value considerably. Speed is usually the first thing baseball players lose as they age, which is why some thought any Turner deal would be capped at seven or eight years. The Phillies opted to go longer, likely at a lower average annual value.

The Phillies came up just short of a World Series title in 2022 and were expected to make a big moves in free agency. If signing Turner leads to a World Series title or two, Philly can probably live with the deal being too long. But it will look like a bad contract in five-ish seasons.

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