Turner becomes an earner



Newly acquired Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner puts on a jersey during his introductory news conference, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

At around 2:37 PM ET on Monday, it became Trea day for the Philadelphia Phillies. The club inked the superstar shortstop to an 11 year, $300 million dollar deal. Here’s why the contract is actually a steal (literally with this speedster) for Philadelphia by many metrics and all the other angles you need to know about this big ticket sensation.

Contract Details 

The contract is fairly simple- an evenly distributed $300 million dollars that will keep Turner a Phillie through the 2033 season, outlasting even Bryce Harper. For those more mathematically inept, that means an AAV or annual average salary of about $27.3 million. The contract also includes a full no-trade clause, meaning that in the unlikely event that Turner were to be traded, he has the power of his destination, in short rendering the chance of him being traded zero. 

The 11 years of Turner’s contract is only the third free agent contract in MLB history to span 10 or more seasons, short of only recently signed Padre Xander Bogaerts’ 11 years and fellow teammate Bryce Harper’s 13 years. This length was also quite unexpected, with Fangraphs having a crowdsource prediction of 7 years/$210 million ($30 million AAV). However, the 11 years stretched out afforded the Phillies to lower his AAV to $27.3 million, which actually ranks as the 17th highest 2023 salary in baseball, not too shabby for arguably the best shortstop in the game right now.


Trea Turner can do it all on the diamond, with a major component of his consistent all star-status being with the bat in his hands. For the more surface level statistics, in 2022 among qualifying shortstops (3.1 plate appearances per team game), Trea Turner ranked top 3 in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging, with a slash line of .298/.343/.466 to give him an OPS of .809.  For the counting stats, he had 21 dingers, 194 total hits (2nd in MLB), and his first career 100 RBI season. While these are all well above average statistics for Turner, it can be argued that this was his worst offensive year in the past 4 years. He carries a career slash line of .302/.355/.487, displaying that even a “down year” for him is still representative of a top shortstop in the eyes of many.

Turner additionally carried a career high 6.3 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) in 2022, ranking him the 13th most valuable player in baseball in 2022. He also sported a 121 OPS+ last season, (OPS with added factor of varying ballpark dimensions and eras with 100 being average), making him 21% better than the average hitter. 

His wRC+(weighted runs created with added factor of varying ballpark dimensions and eras with 100 being average) also reflects his prominence at the dish, indicating how well he succeeds at creating runs for his team. Among all shortstops in baseball from the beginning of the 2019 season, Turner has the 3rd highest wRC+ at 133, making him 33% better than the average batter.

For his expected statistics in 2022, he ranks in the 89th percentile (top 12%) in xBA (Expected Batting Average), indicating that his top-notch contact skills are no fluke. Using a stat called xwOBA (Expected Weighted On-base Percentage), it can be measured that Turner is above average (71st percentile; top 30%) in not only getting on base, but the quality of his hits. Through this, it can be seen that he has cumulative quality numbers in exit velocity, launch angle of his batted balls, and overall valuable hits. To put it simply, he hits the ball hard and in the right spots.

A beautiful photoshop jersey switch via Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott. (@bryson_stott10 on Twitter)


So we know the damage he can do with the bat in his hands, but what about his glove? Turner hasn’t typically been anything breathtaking at shortstop defensively in his eight years in the bigs, however, he’s found his way to be a consistent defender throughout the years.

Turner’s career defensive statistics are pretty moderate overall minus the shortened 2020 season where he had flat out abysmal numbers in nearly every category, but I think we can give him a pass there as it was an abnormal year for everyone. Turner has a career 9 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved with 0 being average; taking into account errors, infield range, arm accuracy/strength, and double play ability). This ranks 26th in baseball among all shortstops since the beginning of the 2015 season.

He also ranks 16th among shortstops in OAA (Outs made Above Average) since the start of the 2016 season. When it comes to his arm, it’s rather pedestrian with his arm strength in the 39th percentile (bottom 39%) among major leaguers. These statistics may sound lackluster, but in recent years he was consistently about average or just below across the board, which is valuable to have as the captain of your infield.


The major facet that makes Turner so special in his craft and in turn a substantial part of this contract is his flash-like speed. He is quite literally one of the fastest players in baseball, ranking in the 99th percentile (top 1%) in sprint speed. In 2022, Turner had the 5th best sprint speed at 30.3 ft/sec. To put that in perspective, the average MLB sprint speed is 27 feet per second. 

So how does it help him? Well, in the modern day era of analytics where stolen bases just aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be, not only might Turner just be one the best base stealers in the game but in history. There are only 2 active major leaguers with 200 or more career stolen base attempts and a success rate of 84% or higher, Mike Trout (241, 84.647%) and Trea Turner (272, 84.559%). Historically, the only players to have EVER met those requirements were legendary speed demons Eric Davis and Carlos Beltran. 

The Longevity:

A common misconception is his longevity, with people saying things like, “11 years!?, you gotta be crazy to think he’ll be worth 300 million when he’s 40”. Stop, just stop. This is commonly said about many long term contracts and I usually have the same rudimentary answer- who cares? The Phillies are win-now and if they can get 4-5 elite years out of Turner in their lethal lineup, the contract is already a success, with any more good seasons just being a bonus. Is he gonna be the same when he’s 40? Of course not, but what does that matter, and should that
really stop the Phillies from picking up a generational talent such as Trea Turner?

The Intangibles
Some things can’t be displayed on a stat page, and while Turner excels on paper, he passes the eye test too. World Series championship? Turner has been there, done that in hopes to give an extra push to a team that was 2 wins away from such a feat. Not only that, but Turner has totaled five appearances in the postseason, bringing even more bright-light hardened experience to this team.

With the many rule changes coming to baseball in 2023 such as bigger bases, no defensive shifting, and less pickoff to 1B attempts allowed, the rapid evolution of baseball will only serve to benefit Turner’s game, particularly with his speed.

His new ballpark is not only familiar from his longtime career on the division rival Nationals, but so are his teammates. Turner should feel snug in Philadelphia not only for the hitter’s park that Citizens Bank Park is, but for former teammates such as Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and longtime hitting coach Kevin Long helping him get comfortable and gear up for another potential World Series run.

The Phillies didn’t win the National League pennant just to be eliminated in the first round next year. They want to show they aren’t just some one time fantasy ride. They’re here to stay folks, and modern day genius turned GM Dave Dombrowski knows what he has and isn’t gonna let this opportunity slip. By already spending over $387 million this offseason, the Phillies have quite literally put their money where their mouth is.

They say if you can hit, a team will find a position for you, they say speed kills, they say defense wins championships, they say chicks dig the long ball. Well, Trea Turner can undoubtedly do ’em all.