Happy Trea day Philadelphia!! What a great morning to be a Philadelphia Phillies fan!! The defending NL champions made a huge splash yesterday in Free agency. The club signed 29-year-old shortstop Trea Turner to an 11-year 300 million dollar contract to come to Philadelphia. Turner reunites with friend and former Nationals teammate Bryce Harper along with former hitting coach Kevin Long. Turner was rumored to come to Philly, but I think many were surprised that this deal happened so quickly. What does Trea Turner mean to Philly?
It has been rumored that San Diego had a bigger offer, but the draw of the East coast and playing with Harper again seems to have been a big factor in his decision. It has also been reported that Turner’s wife and Harper’s wife are friends from their Washington days as well. As the saying goes, happy wife, happy life. Philadelphia will definitely take that outcome.
What Does It All Mean?
In Turner, the Phillies are adding another bona fide star to the already deep lineup. He has speed, power, and he hits for a high average. He has a career .302 average and has hit over 20 homers as a shortstop each of the 2 seasons. For perspective on his speed, he was clocked at over 22.7 miles per hour at least 2 times in 2016. Coming off of a career year in 2021, last year was a little down, but he still hit .298. with 21 Home Runs and 27 stolen bases. With his speed and handling of the bat, Turner can comfortably bat leadoff or 2nd if manager Rob Thomson decides to keep Kyle Schwarber in the leadoff spot.
Unfortunately, Turner will have to wait a few months to play with his buddy, Bryce Harper. Harper will miss the first few months of the 2023 season following Tommy John surgery. Even so, this lineup is absolutely stacked. The Phillies can trot out a lineup of Kyle Schwarber, Turner, Hoskins, Realmuto, Castellanos, Bohm, Stott, Marsh, and either a Hall at DH or a Vierling in Right. This team can score runs with or without Harper. When Harper comes back, there are no weaknesses in this lineup. I’d argue talent-wise. This lineup stacks up with the 08-09 Rollins, Utley, Howard, and Werth lineups.
The Phillies Have to Continue to Grind
As big of a move as Turner was, there is still work to be done to repeat in the very tough National league. In the East, the rival New York Mets lost pitcher Jacob deGrom but have replaced him with Al Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander. The Braves will also be tough as usual, plus teams like the Padres, Dodgers, and Cardinals will make moves to improve as well. The Phillies are rumored to be in the market for pitching. They need at least one solid starter, and they need a few bullpen arms. The Phillies have lost pitchers Zach Eflin and Kyle Gibson to free agency. Noah Syndergaard is also a free agent from 2022’s rotation and could be lost too.
Some possible additions are Giants left-handed starter Carlos Rodon and Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon. Rodon is probably the most popular choice, as he’s coming off a stellar season. He compiled a 2.88 ERA with 237 strikeouts in 178 innings. He also had an impressive 14-8 record on a losing team. There have been reports that the soon to be 30 year old wants a 6-year contract. He would come with a loss of some draft capital due to him turning down his qualifying offer. That factor and his injury history make me think that he may be a long shot here. He was Tuner’s college roommate, so until he signs elsewhere, you never know. What does Trea Turner mean to Philly? Only the future can tell.
What Moves Make Sense
Righthander Jameson Taillon is a much more likely acquisition. The cost is much lower. He projects to get in the ballpark of about 4 years, 56 million. That would average around 14-15 million per season. Taillon also wouldn’t cost the Phillies draft capital. He’s had some major injury issues, but he was taken 2nd overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2010 draft.
He had Tommy John in 2014 and had another UCL procedure in 2019. The arm talent is there. Taillon is coming off a very good bounce-back season with the Yankees. He was 14-5 with a 3.92 ERA in 177 innings. Tallion stuck out 151. He just turned 31, but his best baseball could be in front of him. Teams could do much worse than a rotation of Wheeler, Nola, Suarez, Taillon, and the 5th spot being an open competition between Bailey Falter and young guns like 19-year-old phenom Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, or Griff McGary.
Work Still to Be Done
As stated before, there is some work still to be done, but this is the best I’ve felt about the future of the Phillies since the 07-11 run of NL East titles under Charlie Manuel. The Phillies have an owner in John Middleton who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring the trophy to Broad Street.
They also appear to have made the right hire in Manger of the year candidate Rob Thomson. The man in charge of putting it all together is a lifelong baseball man with 5 World Series appearances and 2 championships in Dave Dombrowski. Dombrowski guided the 1997 Marlins and 2018 Red Sox to titles. The Phillies just extended his contract through the 2027 season. This move reminds me of when the franchise hired long-time baseball man Pat Gillick in 2006. I have confidence that with the deep pockets and passion of owner John Middleton and the baseball instincts and savvy of Dombrowski, this team will find a way to get back to and win a World Series in the next 3-5 years of this team’s prime. I look forward to the rest of the hot stove season and many Red Octobers to come. Go Phillies!!
My passion for sports began at 8 years old when I won Sixers tickets at a father and son night. Since then, Saturdays meant Notre Dame football, and Sundays were for the Eagles. My passion continues to this day, and I have the great privilege of hosting the Sully Squad on Monday nights and the Old School Show on Friday Nights.